- Apr 1, 2011
Force India's proposal to Pirelli could change Formula One for the better.
In its present state, Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli makes an educated decision as to which tyres to bring to each Grand Prix based on track characteristics such as average cornering speed, asphalt abrasiveness, predicted track temperature and hundreds of other factors, I'm sure. However, of the four dry compounds in the Pirelli P-Zero range, the Italian tyre manufacturer only selects two compounds for each Grand Prix that all teams must use.
Force India's chief operating officer, Otmar Szafnauer, has proposed that the Formula One weekend would be far more interesting if teams were individually allowed to secretly elect the two tyre compounds to use four weeks in advance of each Grand Prix. Then on the Thursday before each race, the tyre choices for each team become known to their competitors and the general public, and immediately there is a massive talking point for the weekend.
Now, many die-hard Formula One fans are saying that tyres are already too dominant of a factor in the racing these day, and they might be right, but I believe such a change to the sporting regulations would be a good one, and could make for some very interesting racing. Not only would it make for some very intriguing race strategies on a Sunday, but it could also result in some highly mixed up grids on a Saturday. However, there's also the added complication of having to explain all of this to the fans who are new to Formula One, and so as Formula One attempts to reach out to a broader audience, this may not be the best move.
Whilst it's simple enough to comprehend for someone who has been following the sport for some time, the same may not be applicable for someone who doesn't know that Formula One cars have eight forward gears. TV stations would need to invest time and money into creating new on-screen graphics to inform the viewers of which tyres each team had available to them, and it could be another fiddly talking point that commentators get wrong.
But just imagine for a moment: It's lap 40 of the 2015 Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton leads the race on worn hard tyres. Sebastian Vettel has just pitted for Super-Softs and the gap to the leader is 25 seconds. The pace advantage could be an immense game changer. Would Lewis win? Or would Sebastian's Super-Softs provide such speed that he'd be able to reel him in and take the win in front of the adoring Tifosi? Or further down the field could it mean McLaren get their first points of the season?
Of course the purists may scream that it's yet another artificial nail in Formula One's artificial coffin, but is it really? The teams would be making strategic decisions within the rules to gain performance over their competitors, and this has always been the case in Formula One. Risks are taken, failure is likely, but they do it all for the glory of standing on the top step of the podium.