Tyres, Yas Marina, 2015

Designed-to-degrade vs flat-out F1: Time to change tyres?

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This coming week top F1 figures will discuss whether in 2017 the sport should abandon a key belief which has shaped the racing over the past five seasons.

The arrival of Pirelli in 2011 coincided with the sport’s powers-that-be demanding the use of ‘designed-to-degrade’ tyres – rubber which drivers could only use for a short length of time during races, being forced to pit two or three times for fresh tread.

While there is no doubt the amount of pit stops has increased compared to the 2010 season, drivers have grown increasingly unhappy at being forced to operate within their limits. They and others believe it is time to return to performance-orientated compounds. Where do you stand on the debate?

Entertainment: ‘Designed to degrade’

Nothing has done more to increase unpredictability and promote overtaking over the past five years than high-degradation tyres. Particularly before 2014 it gave us several exciting races where drivers who felt they had to make more pit stops than their rivals raced to catch up: China in 2011 and Canada in 2012 are two of several examples.

High-degradation tyres are a fairer way of increasing overtaking than something like DRS, which deprives the leading driving of the ability to defend themselves. Every driver has access to the same range of tyres, so if they find themselves on the wrong rubber at the wrong time they cannot blame misfortune.

Although the dominance of Mercedes over the last two seasons has made the improvements to the racing harder to appreciate, the challenge offered by the tyres has contributed to some surprise results. Sebastian Vettel‘s victories in Malaysia and Singapore were aided by Mercedes making wrong strategic calls or being unable to get the best out of their tyres.

Performance: ‘Flat-out F1’

Although tyre conservation has almost always happened to some extent in F1, it has now become far too prevalent. While ‘designed to degrade’ tyre have brought some limited improvements to the racing it has come at a serious cost in terms of performance. Formula One cars are visibly slower in corners than they used to be, making for a less impressive spectacle.

Furthermore, as drivers spend a greater proportion of the races conserving their tyres, they are less likely to make mistakes. And when a rival looms large in their mirrors they are more likely to hear their race engineer saying “don’t bother fighting him”, because putting up resistance would waste precious tyre life against an opponent who is on much fresher rubber.

The fragility of the tyres also discourages drivers from following closely behind their rivals for long, which is why they are often heard being told to maintain gaps of around two seconds to the car ahead until the pit stops, when they can push hard and finally use the tyres the way they are meant to be.

I say

Designed-to-degrade tyres were one of two changes which signalled the beginning of F1’s ‘gimmick era’ in 2011 – the other being Drag Reductions Systems. Though both are controversial, I have always found the approach taken with tyres to be easier to justify than DRS.

I also think that when there isn’t a tyre war, F1’s sole supplier of rubber needs a firm brief to deliver on. Otherwise they have no incentive to do anything other than produce very conservative tyres.

However it seems increasingly the case that F1’s teams have unravelled the mysteries of Pirelli’s tyres. A comparison can be drawn with refuelling: when that was last reintroduced into F1 in 1994-95 it created some unpredictable races, but teams quickly mastered it and from then until it was dropped at the end of 2009 it became a largely routine matter.

An unfortunate by-product of the era of ‘designed to degrade’ tyres is we now hear endless radio messages in which drivers are being told to look after their tyres. Some have responded to this by saying the solution should be to ban driver communications or not broadcast them. Both strike me as poor reasoning and examples of shooting the messenger because we don’t like the message.

Although some drivers were speaking out against the tyres years ago it has taken time for the others to find their voice – hardly surprising when they are being hushed up by the man in charge. But when those driving what should be the most high-performance cars in the world are saying they are no longer thrilled by it, and are casting jealous glances towards other championships, we should probably listen to them.



You say

Do you want to see F1 tyres designed chiefly for entertainment, by creating more pit stops, or chiefly for performance, by lowering lap times? Which is the more important priority?

Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments:

Should performance or entertainment be the priority for F1 tyres?

  • Chiefly performance, not enterainment (40%)
  • Mainly performance, some entertainment (48%)
  • Some performance, mainly entertainment (8%)
  • Not performance, chiefly entertainment (2%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 307

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Keith Collantine
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  • 116 comments on “Designed-to-degrade vs flat-out F1: Time to change tyres?”

    1. Degrading tyres always adds a nice little touch into the race, as it opens up strategy. The 2012 season was one of the best ever seen in Formula One, and it had degrading tyres. If we have flat-out tyres, than we would have 0-1 pit stops per race and I can guarantee you there will be little to no action every race. In my opinion, I’d rather watch an action-packed race than a boring race but the cars are much quicker

      1. Well, with 0-1 pit stops per race, drivers would need to overtake on track, and they would have to do so with tires of similar condition.
        As it is, there are overtakes, but those usually are generated by either DRS, a major difference in tire condition or the overtaken driver being told “not to fight to save the tires”.

      2. I agree. It’s inane but it works. F1 need to fix the aero to get back normal racing. I’m not sure f1 is that worried about it. These tyres have a very low point of saturation, therefore the cars not only have high degredation but are forced to run above what the tyres can withstand, in 2012 that meant any team could win as long as they got the tyres maximized.

      3. @lolzerbob
        +10000. I’d love to have another season like 2012 with the same tyres. There’s a myth that we would see a lot more overtaking moves with rock-solid tyres. But why most of the dry races of 2010 were pretty uneventful then? I don’t know exactly what happened with tyres since 2012 but looks they are different now. If intoducing a ‘cliff’ would bring us to 2012-like tyres and allow drivers to run much closer to the limit, then I am for it.
        Ban DRS though or make it like push-to-pass in IndyCar!

        1. Go and rewatch some 2010 rces if you think the racew were boring and predictable, I was just rewatching that season a few weeks ago and it made this last few years all seem very yawnable indeed. The biggest difference is you can VISIBLY see the drivers flat out all race, it really is like night and day. Much more competitive across the field too. And yes still plenty of overtakes, honestly I would say far more wheel to wheel fighting as the tyres weren’t so precious (i.e hopeless) when following another car closely as they are now and drivers could really attack for many laps at a time.

      4. Performance tires can be designed with a low amount of tread, which will still wear down, forcing the drivers to make pit stops. It just allows them to push harder for longer during the stint. And that’s what we want – – drivers driving flat out against each other.

        The design to degrade tires are just as boring, driving cautiously for most of the race to eek out the performance just enough to where they’ll be ahead at the end… without any real overtaking on track.

        1. Even with flatout tires there wont be pushing at maximum the whole race, the cars performance is still fuel limited. even with the current tires.

          1. Exactly the point I was going to make. Why have faster tyres for longer if you are still having to lift and coast.

            1. One of the best ways to conserve fuel is to carry more speed into the corner. This leads to less braking (or lifting and coasting), and less acceleration needed out of the corner.

              But with the current tyres, drivers have to watch how fast they take the corner for pure tyre life reasons.

      5. Well Kevin, my guess is you have never seen a F1 race without pit stops, I have, and I can guarantee you that there is action and it happens on the track, not in pit row. It’s a sad state of affairs when a tyre change is the main action in a race.

        1. @hohum I have wanted to ask you this for a while: When did the race without a pit stop happen? I can remember races where the standard-strategy was a no-stop, but a race where none of the drivers pitted?

          1. @crammond, You have to go back to the 3 litre era, and yes even then there were pit stops for punctures, mechanical malfunction etc, I am talking about planned or mandatory pit stops.

            1. The 3 litre era? So that’s between 1995 and 2005? In that era there were pitstops for punctures, but also a lot of planned pitstops.
              In the late 80s and the early 90s there were races where the default strategy was no pitstops (especially in Monaco and some races in the 1988 season), but even in these races there may have been some unplanned pitstops.

            2. @f1infigures, No, sorry, the original 3L 1966 to 198?

      6. I agree, but 2012 was mostly exciting because the teams were yet to get on top of the tyres. As the article said, it’s now become routine. I don’t think we’ll see tyres create another season like 2012, the teams understand Pirelli far too well now.

      7. I agree. To be honest I’m sick to death of people moaning about the tyres and DRS and wishing for the ‘old days’.

        I’m sorry, but F1 in the old days was rubbish. Were the drivers able to push flat out for the entire race? Yes. Did this in ANY way make it good for spectators and fans of the sport? Absolutely NOT.

        Just go back and watch any of the races from the early to mid 2000’s and try not to fall alseep. After the first couple of laps it was a boring, uninteresting train that pretty much finished in the order that was decided after the first few laps, baring mechanical issues etc.

        The degrading tyres and DRS have improved F1 out of sight! OK, so as far as I’m concerned DRS is a bit too powerful and should really only allow the following driver to get into an overtaking position. It should not allow the following driver to completely overtake his opponent. But this can be addressed.

        And the tyres should fall off a cliff, but be able to take a beating for a period of time first. They should allow the driver to push as hard as he can for a good number of laps before they start to fall off the cliff. I am sick of the constant tyre management, but this can also be addressed without having totally bullet proof tyres.

        Although if they perfect DRS, maybe the tyres CAN go back to bullet proof and the racing still be entertaining.

        1. On the DRS issue, I’ve always wanted it to be a “you get 10 seconds a lap, push when you want it”

    2. Nigelstash (@)
      31st January 2016, 12:11

      Good summary of the arguments for each side, and quite a difficult call as nobody wants boring races with invincible tyres. In my opinion we should try to maximise the time that drivers are ‘on the limit’ which means as little tyre saving as possible (and fuel saving for that matter). I do think that DRS has been a good thing though, as it is a specific solution to a specific problem (too much dirty air) and does test the skill of a driver approaching a a corner at speed with little downforce. Not as good a solution as ground effect perhaps, but a simple workable solution.
      By contrast, too much tinkering with tyres just increases levels of complication and puts the emphasis too much on the team strategy and not enough on the driver. I want to see races where a driver can attack the car in front for several laps trying to force a mistake and if they get past having a chance of defending on their worn but still usable tyres.

    3. When the degrading tyre concept came into F1 I initially enjoyed it & I believe the racing was better, although we generally had the same winners the races around 2011/12 were very good but as time has gone on I believe the teams have worked out this concept & how to maximise it. We see drivers now driving most of the race at 80% only pushing around the pitstops, the teams have figured out how to drive the quickest race with degrading tyres, drive slowly reducing the need for an extra stop due to overtaking being so difficult not just because of aero but the tyres having a low level of overall grip & being so fragile if punished in dirty air. Last year we saw so many 1 stop races with teams trying to get the stint length to only pit once then try to get to the end without the 2nd stop because if they stopped twice they would have to do some overtaking but that would punish their tyres & their fresh rubber would be no better off than the cruising one stoppers. If Pirelli wants one stop races or insist on being cautious you might as well bring tyres that the drivers can push to the max on for the whole race, eg. 2010 the Bridgestone tyres could last the whole race easily & all the races were 1 stoppers & was one of the best seasons ever, I would much rather watch the drivers push the whole race on a one stopper like 2010 than they try to cruise to a one stopper eking the tyres out for the whole race like this year.
      My opinion of what they should do is: Bring 3 compounds to a race weekend like they do next season, the tyres be all performance tyres that can do long stints flat out & you have to use all three compounds in a race & have to do 10% of the race on each compounds (Guarantee 2 stop races at least) It would make strategy a bit like GP2, you could pit early & get yourself out of traffic or change late in the race with very fresh fast tyres on low fuel or split the race evenly

      1. What on earth is the attraction of pit stops, if they are so great they should be a separate competition, nice and cheap too, cars would only need to be able to do 60 mph.

    4. The racer in me says tyres for flat out all race long but the fan in me says ‘well, 2012 wasn’t bad at all’… We need plenty of both. Drivers should be able to push on the tyres but at the same time I don’t want tyres to last an entire race. I like strategy as a part of racing. If anything that in combination with the tyres has given us some very special races, all of Perez his podiums, Kimi his win in Melbourne, the 2012 Canadian GP, …

      1. @xtwl, Perez, all his podiums, they were totally boring and unremarkable in every way. Kimi, going from a podium position to the back half of the field in 2 laps, I want drama not comedy.

        1. @hohum If you make the tyres rock hard there won’t be any drama. Then the cars finish in the order they qualified or end lap 1 and we call that a GP…

          1. @xtwl, “the cars finish in the order they qualified”, this is so obviously and demonstrably wrong I wonder what agenda the people who keep posting it have. Sure the best driver in the best car starting from pole is likely to win more often than not, but not always, and not if that car is only slightly faster and that advantage is only there with low fuel load and high stress on components, and that includes even tyres capable of a full race distance not necessarily “rock hard” ones.

            1. @hohum The best cars always tend to qualify up front, if you’re going to make tyres that allow a driver to go flat out an entire race it’s more than likley the faster car will just pull away from the second placed car which will more than likley be the second best car. If you make tyres that last and last we get a Sochi 2014 every single race. No overtaking, no pitstops, hardly any battling unless a driver started out of position (which with todays teams almost never happens), no drama. The tyres are a very easy thing to input some unpredicatblility in the sport and that is fine. I do think they should not blow up like in Spa but I was on the edge of my seat to see whether Grosjean could take that spot or not. If you make tyres that last there won’t be any different strategies and Vettel would have been miles ahead in this example.

    5. I’ll sayit again: designed-to-degrade is NOT the main problem – tyre manufacturers can create tyres that more or less easily last the whole distance and nobody wants that, expect those extremely on the ‘performance’ end of the spectrum.

      Teams being able to simply reverse engineer how Pirelli introduced the degradation element in just a few years IS the problem.

      Very few series use tyres that are extremely on the ‘performance’ end of the spectrum (WEC is one of those). The difference between the other series and F1 is that the deliberate degradation element succeeds in keeping drivers and teams on their toes and sustain unpredictability whereas F1 teams have so much money that they can simply buy the necessary technology (quadzillion sensors and the strongest supercomputers) and decipher the inner workings of the degradation process – and once they control it, the unpredictability is gone. And worse, it looks dumb from the outside, not pushing on the track (rather in the lab to infinitely sophisticatedly model the tyre behaviour).

      It should be in the rules how much (how precious few minutes) teams can use this technology. It’s not the devil’s handiwork, it would be just another rule – but one that is the cornerstone of a ‘sellable’ product which can produce both drivers pushing to the limits and unpredictability in a sustainable way.

      1. I can’t agree with that. Winning should be a function of good engineering design and good driving, not a matter of some team just happening to stumble on a car design and setup which happens to line up with the 1mm wide operating window of the tyres.

        If all that’s desired is unpredictability then the ECU’s can easily be programmed with a random number generator and code which shuts down a car if the “wrong” number pops up. That’s no more cynical than telling teams to design a car to work with a variety of different Mystery tyres.

        1. @JohnS The way F1 (and engineering as a whole) works is some very clever people sit down and look a problem, try to thoroughly understand it and then defeat it or at least work around it – it’s amazing what we as humans can do when we need to apply a little ingenuity.

          But in this case, ‘good engineering’ is the problem – we have a very specific set of circumstances (a racing tyre designed with a plastic compounded embedded in the rubber that, when heated, melts and changes the elasticity of the tyre, effectively ruining it – source), dictated by the commercial rights holder, produced by a single supplier and (usually) changed once a season. When you have such a strict remit, engineers very easily worked out how to not activate the compound. This is achieved by driving as they do, 5% below the activation limit (i.e. melting point) of the plastics.

          Engineering has solved the problem. Engineering has ruined the challenge of running Pirelli’s current tyres.

        2. @JohnS It’s not cynical, it’s just a rule. Both engineering and driving can be, and should be, pushed to the limits with any kind of ruleset.

      2. @atticus-2, I’ll say it again; made to degrade tyres absolutely are the main problem, they make close racing a sure fire way to lose, but they reward careful, smooth and slow circulation avoiding any overtaking or defending.

        1. @hohum Not if you don’t know whether you are doing enough to be smooth enough or not.

          If you can’t help but remain in the dark in this respect, despite your best effort as a team or as a driver (because the rules limit you,) then the only thing you’ll know is drive by instinct and given the competitive nature of the sport, inherently ask a bit too much of your equipment every now and then pushing it nearer to the limit. Because you simply don’t know if you’re leaving something in it, or if you’ll have opportunities later on at all (considering others may have just got it wrong.) Et voila, whether you did or not created unpredictability while also encouraging drivers to push ever closer to the limit.

    6. My biggest gripe with these tyres is that they (Bernie, FIA, FOM, whomever is pushing these tyre specs) are using the wrong tool to fix a problem that is caused by other reasons.

      We “need” these tyres to create on-track action. But why is there such a lack of on-track action? Why aren’t the cars running close? Why aren’t there any battles? Why do the cars spread out and never meet each other again?

      It’s easy. The cars start the race in order of their race performance. Qualifying and race setups are the same because of parc fermé. Race tyres and qualifying tyres are the same. And the cars have more or less the same behaviour for the whole race, thanks to the in-car adjustements they have. So the relative performance stays the same for the whole race.

      When do we get track action? When a car qualifies out of place. When weather conditions change dramatically (much colder/much hotter track, rain). When someone has problems during the race (slow pit stops, a puncture, a spin). When something unexpected happens.

      That’s it. If you put the faster cars ahead and the slower cars behind, without any expectation of their relative performances changing during the race (for example, a car being a lot better on a full fuel tank but becoming “slower” near the end), there simply won’t be any action.

      The “show” tyres bring that uncertainty. Some cars are better than others with certain tyres. Sometimes the tyre will fall “off-the-cliff”. They also force more pit stops which again bring more opportunities for unexpected things to happen. But in my opinion it’s the wrong way to create action.

      1. @casjo This. I agree. Bringing back different qualy and race setup is much better than relying on tires. Set the parc ferme rules to 1 hour or whatever it need to realistically switch some setup from qualy to race (excluding absurd change like different engines and gearbox, but gear ratio could be permitted) and we can get more unpredictable race result.

    7. It’s difficult to find the right balance. Let’s not forget that a lot of factors have to be considered such as temperatures, wind speed and surfaces of different tracks in different countries. I initially felt it was too gimmicky but then had to admit that the most exciting races in recent 10 years came due to the issues drivers and teams faced due to tyres and understanding how to maximise performance and minimise damage during the race. The only problem is when teams are forced to use a compound that degrades excessively and drivers feel visibly bored and that can often reflect on the race and entertainment. I am a big fan of exciting races and entertainment and tyres have been a big part of this in recent years but I chose “Mainly performance, some entertainment”. I wonder why? Maybe it is because if I were a driver I would much prefer to be able to put my foot down beginning to end without having to worry about fuel or tyres.

    8. performance is the sole criteria that should be looked at. just what is a race? it is to beat everyone else and take the chequered flag. to do that takes a competition between engines, chassis, and driver. it should not be weighted in favor of one or another. tyres are the singular most important factor on an F1 car. it doesn’t matter what chassis or engine you have if you can’t utilise that performance between car and track you won’t win. pirelli should be dealt out of the equation and simply be a supplier of the best ‘racing’ tyre. mark webber and nico hulkenberg both summed it up. they like to ‘race’ and push hard and they can do this in WEC. they do this with michelin.

    9. What we need is 2 tire manufacturer. 1 that does ‘designed to degrade’ and 1 that does ‘flat out’. Then the drivers/teams choose what tires they want to use. I think it would be more strategic as well as entertaining.

      1. Why not simply ask Pirelli to supply two degradation spec tyres and one performance based tyre, and let the teams decide? The problem isn’t Pirelli, it is the contract they have with F1.

    10. I do remember when, after the first refuelling-ban, teams found out it was (at most tracks) faster to use a softer tyre and include a pit-stop (or two) than it was to use a harder tyre and go without one. What´s hampering the current generation isn´t that they are designed to last less than a race distance, nor that they are designed to create differing strategies; It is that they degrade through heat, not allowing for sliding, being faster over a race-distance when not pushed.
      Ideally (vision rather than short-term-doable) we would get rid of the force to use different compounds during a race, get rid of the force to use the same compound on all wheels, and have a couple of different compounds available, the hardest one a no-stop, the softest a two or three stop, all of them ending on the same piece of track at the end (meaning in free air the more-stop needs to be faster, making up for eventual time-loss in traffic). They should be designed in a way that it´s faster to push and make a stop more than it is to save them and do a stop less. And an occasional tyre-failure when someone takes a tyre too far is absolutely ok.
      That said, realistically we only have Pirelli as a single tyre-supplier. Michelin have made half-hearted statements that they might join if several things that aren´t happening would be happening, several of those would make Pirelli leave, while Michelin also said they don´t want to be single suppliers. Other than that, there is no available supplier in sight. So maybe we should be just glad that F1 has tyres at all, given the difficult marketing-position for suppliers.

      1. F1 will always find a tyre supplier, all they have to do is pay for them.

    11. Tyres which can barely be used is no doubt a big problem. It’s heart breaking to hear them be told to conserve life, to know they’re driving at like 7-8/10’s but it has on occasion undoubtedly provided some excellent races. The problem is it’s so hard to engineer in the right mix of circumstances to get that. China ’11, Canada ’12, Bahrain ’14 and Austin ’15 couldn’t have been predicted to be the spectacles they were, fortune just dealt the right cards that we got exciting races.

      I am worried that just saying ‘ok you asked for performance rubber, here it is!’ might not result in exactly what we want, I’m worried we might actually be sat watching some fairly dull races. Ultimately what we want is tyres that have a lifespan that still needs multiple pit stops but that during the stint the drivers can lean on them like hell without them shooting out of the performance window and killing them within a lap. Surely a high performance compound that doesn’t thermally degrade but just runs out of tread would deliver something between the two camps that keeps everyone happy?

      1. @philipgb Why we still need mandatory pit stop? Why not just let them race with 1 set of tire if the driver capable of doing so? Sochi 2014 will be much better race I think if other drivers is not forced to change tires.

        1. @sonicslv It’s a perfectly fair question and I agree it would be interesting to see the mix of strategy that might provide if they could say arrive at a point where one driver doing say 3 stops on soft tyres versus a driver doing no stops on hard delivering a similar race time and seeing who could come out on top.

          My concern is that there wouldn’t be the variability in strategies if that option was available and it would just be apparent that no stops is the prime strategy to be on at which point a flat spot or puncture would be catastrophic to a race and all drivers would drive to make the tyre last all race. It could potentially have the processional nature of some of todays races without even the glimmer of intrigue offered around the pit stop stage of races.

          It’s just so hard to engineer in what will give the right mix of circumstances of exciting racing. With so much variation track to track and year to year it’s hard to know what makes a race at a track exciting one year and dull the next, or in the same season you can have two tracks with similar characteristics where one delivers a great race and the next a procession I think there isn’t a right answer for ‘this way of doing it will give great racing’.

          1. @philipgb, A puncture is always a catastrophe, a flat spot is driver error, driver error or the lack thereof under pressure is what racing should be all about. Stop trying to engineer a show and go back to basics, cars and drivers trying to get to the lead by driving faster.

            1. @hohum

              Plenty of drivers make a recovery from punctures and flat spots at present depending on where in the race it happens. With a zero pitstop race for the rest of the field they may as well retire.

              I do agree engineering a show isn’t what I want. On the one hand it’s contrived and on the other hand it’s next to impossible to get right with the multitude of variables at each track. This is why I don’t like the thermal degradation it’s just forcing drivers to stick within an invisible window that offers no entertainment to the viewers. But racing is all about limits. Track limits, performance limits etc… So I don’t see a problem with a limited amount of tread on the tyre that will wear down but from a compound that can take being hammered without going beyond some narrow thermal window.

          2. @philipgb Whatever the rules are, there always be one strategy considered optimal and naturally everyone will try to do this strategy. Giving a lot more alternate strategy possible is much better than just crossing them off IMO. In your scenario, if the optimal strategy perceived is no pit stop race, and someone get puncture for example, he can switch to much quicker soft tires to chase the rest of the pack. It’s not all hope is lost because there still a chance of safety car, weather changes, or just track evolution. If the other variable is ideal though, no matter what the rules are, whoever got the puncture will always ruined his race.

      2. @philipgb Well said. To me it is ridiculous that the supposed pinnacle of racing has gone the direction of forcing less racing due to the need for ultra conservation that is way beyond the ever present need for some conservation that has always existed in all racing series. The introduction of gadget tires and DRS is an indication that F1 has lost it’s way and is desperate to try to patch over the real issue which is dirty air causing processions, the proof being that when they had better tires such as in the MS/Ferrari era, processions were the norm, and a big turnoff, and processions have occurred, with as you say only some exceptions as much to do with fortune just dealing the right cards that day, right up until the last F1 race of 2015.

        F1 needs to be on the pinnacle of tires in the self-proclaimed pinnacle of racing. And I agree with you and was glad to read the other day Pirelli talking about less tread as a way to force pit stops after being pushed for a good part of a stint, rather than mysterious thermal deg tires that could completely stop a driver from pushing at all for fear of missing what short window they might have depending on an ideal temp they needed to achieve to maybe have a few hot laps before having to conserve and conserve.

        1. @robbie Dirty air wasn’t an issue during the early 00’s – the cars were relatively simple compared to the mess of the ’07-’08 cars or the current spec with their stupidly oversized front wings. The problem was you had one team that had the money, time and facilities to do almost 24/7 track testing for the next race. Everything was drilled to perfection. We also had a tyre war where one team had essentially purchased the exclusive services of one of the tyre manufacturers (with some token rubber thrown to back markers to keep the FIA from questioning the relationship) and a questionable relationship between said team and both the governing body and commercial rights holder of the series at the time.

          1. @robbie, @optimaximal, What Opti said, plus, re-fuelling meant most of the passing took place in the pits.

            1. @hohum @optimaximal

              Just watch this. I know there was plenty of boring races in that period but just watch this and then try to still love what we watch today:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVoScgNlPNA

            2. @philipgb, Thanks for that, reminded me why I liked F1, couple of observations
              1; A Trulli train wasn’t always boring
              2; Close racing forces driver errors
              3; Good tyres leave a clean track allowing different lines to be taken.
              4; 10 laps then with more excitement than 20 races now.

            3. Yeah I’m highly aware of what went on in the MS/Ferrari era and the skewing toward them. But I’m not convinced dirty air wasn’t a problem back then too and am quite sure that the regs were formed by F1 including with Ferrari’s veto power so that MS wouldn’t have to pass cars for his wins and championships BECAUSE without being able to pass via pit strategy he might have gotten caught in dirty air on occasion.

    12. Some performance, mainly entertainment. I don’t want to go back to the dullness of the early 00’s. Pirelli tires with their flaws are the same for each and every team, so the tires are not making races any less competitive or unfair. Racing in the 2010’s has been better than its ever been during my time with F1 and I believe that’s solely thanks to tires.

      1. @huhhii If entertainment you seek, I think a spec series is better for you. No offense, but by nature F1 teams should have different performance and the great battle like Senna vs Prost is the exception rather than the rule.

        1. @sonicslv There has been quite lot of different performances between teams during the recent years. RB and Mercedes dominating, top bottom clearly on different pace than midfield runners etc. Can’t see the comparison between spec series and F1.

          1. @huhhii What I meant is in F1, team tiers is more defined than spec series so usually the race results will reflect that order. I just saying spec series gives a lot more possibilities for on track entertainment than F1, where there are a lot more stuff happens outside the track (and race days) to truly enjoy the sport.

    13. I think the problem with the way the tyres currently are isn’t so much that they wear & that the drivers are having to manage them, Its the way they are degrading & the way & how much the drivers are having to manage them & the general feeling that the tyres are not offering a high level of performance because of the way Pirelli are been asked to make them.

      If Pirelli moved away from thermal degredation (Which I think is the biggest problem with their tyres) & made tyres which could be pushed harder for longer but lost performance in a consistent way over a 15-20 lap stint as the compound got worn down like the tyres we had in the past I don’t think the racing would suffer.

      I suggest you go & read this article, There is a bit about half way down (Under a blurred image of a McLaren) where it goes into some detail about the differences between compound wear & the thermal degredation we have had since 2011:
      http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/drivers-demanding-a-return-to-flat-out-f1/

    14. 2 things ruined the degrading tyres rule. 1 the top 10 tyre rule forcing all drivers to start on the same tyre causing a lack of strategic variety. The other the drivers cruising around till they wear instead of thrashing them & sliding around on old tyres as we all hoped

    15. Of course it’s all performance. That’s why we intrigued to follow F1 in the first place. A good performance will bring its own entertainment rather than cheap passes or designed to degrade tires. My biggest gripe with Pirelli situation now is that we get the worst of both performance and endurance. I don’t mind if the tires degrade as fast as now if it gives the best performance possible, not because designed to do so. Maybe its time to make the old stereotype true again: soft tires is fast but brittle, hard tires is slow but durable.

      As a side note I can’t agree with @keith argument of why current tires is better / easier to accept “gimmick” than DRS. It’s not like a select driver have access to DRS (see: FanBoost), and there nothing that prevent a passed driver using DRS himself next lap to pass again. Most of the time, DRS only makes faster car pass slow cars more easily, just like how easy fresh tires passing degraded tires. I’m not defending DRS here, but it’s more than just “press a button”.

    16. tyre conservation has almost always happened to some extent in F1, it has now become far too prevalent.

      The difference here is that tyre conservation was a tactical approach for the race, as you could save your tyres at the start so they can adequately last the whole race and you could attack at key moments (and a lot of it was down to drivers’ own race tactic, i.e. Alesi vs Prost for example). Now, they conserve tyres because they fall apart otherwise. There is no build-up to an eventual flurry of quick laps, or an overtaking attempt, it’s just a slow tedious, dragging sequence of laps to make the tyres’ unavoidable falling apart as late as possible.
      That’s also how the ‘flow’ of an F1 race has been reduced to a predictable, monotonous time trial (requiring you to match a slow lap time, rather than beating a fast one). If 4-5 drivers were to choose different ways of saving tyres for different key moments during the race (or if they actually preferred to stop for a new set and just take off), it would make it a bit more interesting, especially if cars have different strengths to each other.

    17. The only thing I don’t like is how the tyres shed rubber going in a straight line.

    18. Calling degrading tyre a ‘gimmick’ is just an opinion. You could argue that given non degradable tyres, top teams would disappear further away from midfield teams. Tyres aren’t the problem, the financial divide between the top and the bottom teams is. Because FIA can’t(or unwilling) solve that problem, they try to bring more unpredictability with tyres, DRS, limited aero development(about to change) and such variables.

      1. @illusive The FIA cannot fix it – due to an earlier mess with the EU, the FIA (Max Mosley) had to devolve commercial rights to FOM (BCE), who promptly sold them to bankers for lots and lots of money. The only way the FIA (under Jean Todt) can feasibly get them back is if FOM violates their 99-year deal in some way (likely by failing to bring enough cars to the show, which is why FOM is trying to pressure the rich teams to bring 3 cars to keep the numbers up if Manor, Sauber & Lotus were to go).

      2. @illusive, your opinion is only an opinion too, and wrong in my opinion.

      3. Gimmick: a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or trade.

        I’d say designed-to-degrade tyres are the dictionary definition of ‘gimmick’.

    19. as drivers spend a greater proportion of the races conserving their tyres, they are less likely to make mistakes.

      Good point. That’s the main drawback in the designed to degrade tyres. I wanr drivers to be able to push really really hard, but I don’t want Pirelli to design tyres as good as they can be, because the technology is there for them to make a tyre that lasts days and runs the whole time at the very limit.

      I want something in between. The problem is that something in between is closer to designed to degrade tyres than the Bridgestones we used to have.

      1. I’m not so sure about that; after all, the longer the tyres last, the less pit stops there are, and the more overtaking has to be done on track. But then, as others have said, it’s not that the tyres wear out, it’s how they wear out; by being unable to handle overheating, they’re preventing the drivers from pushing to the limit.

        If you want designed-to-degrade tyres, there’s no need for this ‘thermal degradation’ rubbish; just use a shallower tread of rubber that holds together properly under heavy loads.

    20. Formula One cars are visibly slower in corners than they used to be, making for a less impressive spectacle.

      Are the tyres to blame for that, not the aero reducation? It’s true cars are visibly slower in the corners since 2014 but I am not sure if that is down to tyres or simply coincidence with new regulations.

      1. It’s a combination of reduced downforce and fragile tyres, I’d say.

        1. @raceprouk,@michal2009b, Yes, the high-deg tyres amplify the problem of lower downforce, especially in turbulence.

    21. You could still have the tactical challenge and have proper racing tyres that could last the whole race distance. One solution would be like Formula E where you must pit to change car between lap x and lap y. The same thing could be introduced to Formula 1 except the pit stop between laps x and y is to change tyres. No using two compounds just whichever the driver wishes. If you pit before lap x tough you must still pit for new tyres between laps x and y as well. Give it a wide window of say 15 laps between x and y and that may help the strategy. Need to think about wet racing but no reason why something similar wouldn’t work in the wet.

      1. @valkrider Formula E doesn’t have pit windows, Teams are free to change car whenever their battery is about to run out. The only rule is that there has to be a specific amount of charge left in the battery.

        Never been a fan of pit windows, Think they not only remove true strategic freedom/variety but they also tend to take away the incentive to push/overtake on track as teams/drivers have a much better idea of when a car they are racing is going to pit.

        I think back to 2002/2003 where CART/Champcar decided to try mandatory pit windows & they really helped to hurt the racing & became so universally unpopular with teams/drivers & fans that they dropped them for 2004 & the quality of the on-track racing improved immediately.

        DTM also tried mandatory pit windows at one point & had the same problem as Champcar, The racing declined & the pit windows (Which like with Champcar were also universally hated) were eventually ditched with the racing improving as a result.

    22. Adding to the above fuel saving needs to go too. I would like to see each car to must have 100kg of fuel at the start of the race regardless. No short fueling to save weight and increase performance. Level playing field for all. With that and some decent tyres we may get back to true racing for the drivers.

    23. I remember F1 in the pre-2011 days and I genuinely am praying that F1 never goes back to tyres as hard as bricks again. If you thought 2015 was bad, think again.

    24. I think we are missing some link here…
      we are not talking about BEST tires…we are talking about “staged races” by supplying some kind of tires…
      I remember whole tire-gate scandal when McLaren has beaten mighty Schumacher led Ferrari by the lap, because of Michelin tires…maybe that`s we need? Two (or more) tire suppliers beating crap of each other, providing BEST tires for 2-3 teams?

    25. If the tire degradation was completely random then I might consider voting for it as the teams would never be able to figure out when they would go off. But that’s not likely to happen. Instead the powers that be should fix the real problem which is the cars inability to run nose to tail, however that’s not going to happen either as the teams won’t get off the crack pipe known as aerodynamics.
      Overall I would say they should start by repealing all of the changes that were introduced in the name of cost cutting. Then give the teams the freedom to use whatever pit strategy they want which means eliminate mandatory stops, tire usage etc.
      There was a time when small teams like Jordan, Stewart and Williams were able to compete with the likes of Ferrari without spending or testing limits, so they need to figure out how that was possible and work to get back there without necessarily reverting to 1980’s technology.

      1. @velocityboy

        There was a time when small teams like Jordan, Stewart and Williams were able to compete with the likes of Ferrari without spending or testing limits, so they need to figure out how that was possible and work to get back there without necessarily reverting to 1980’s technology.

        They were able to do so because at the time F1 was much less expensive, As soon as cost’s really started to rise in the early 2000s you saw Jordan fall back from where they had been in the 90s. It also didn’t help that they lost the backing they had been getting from manufacturer’s like Peugeot & Mugen Honda/Honda (When BAR got the main Honda deal in 2000 Jordan lost a chunk of the funding it had been getting).

        Williams have also suffered from not having the manufacturer backing that they did when they were winning regularly. Through their most successful years they were the factory Honda/Renault/BMW team & were benefiting not just in terms of the manufacturer giving them all of the best hardware/software but also in terms of having a lot of funding come from those partnerships & other advantages such as a free (Or discounted) engine supply.

        It was sort of similar with Stewart, They were getting a lot of backing from Ford as the factory ford team which is what allowed them to run with no real backing from additional sponsors.

        An additional problem has been that teams like Jordan were getting a big chunk of its overall funding from tobacco sponsorship & since tobacco sponsorship has been banned they have struggled to claw back the lost funding because no other sector has come in to offer as much money for sponsorship as the tobacco companies did.

        1. @gt-racer

          Good points. The lack of sponsors or backing can probably be addressed by allowing teams to have a title sponsor for each car rather than the whole team. Giancarlo Minardi lobbied for that years ago and the response was it would confuse to fans if cars from the same team had different liveries (I guess NASCAR and IndyCar fans are smarter than us).
          I think that rather than focus on things like tires and DRS they should look at what caused the costs to rise, like the use of exotic materials, wind tunnels, super computers etc and find a way to change the rules so a team can compete without them. I’m not saying it’s easy or even doable, but until they focus on the larger issues, things will not improve.

          1. @velocityboy

            The lack of sponsors or backing can probably be addressed by allowing teams to have a title sponsor for each car rather than the whole team.

            That may help IF they could find a title sponsor for each car, However teams are struggling to land a single title sponsor as it is so most likely wouldn’t be able to get one for each car even if they wanted to.

            With regards to Nascar/Indycar.
            In Nascar the fans tend to associate sponsors with the driver more than team & a big chunk of Indycar fans have been critical of the different branding on each car for a while now & that criticism has only got worse in recent years given how livery’s are changing race to race because a lot of the big sponsors are only willing to sign upto short term deals of 1-2 races at a time.

            1. @velocityboy @gt-racer In the end though, they was the de facto manufacturer team. It’s the fact that private team is not going to fight for the championship in F1 especially in modern era. Williams, McLaren, Jordan, Lotus, Sauber, Benetton, Red Bull all have manufacturers backing on their better days and that’s why Ron Dennis is always trying to get that works deal. The only exception is Brawn GP, but they also basically have 2 years R&D funding from Honda.

      2. the real problem which is the cars inability to run nose to tail

        Cars used to be able to follow one another closely, right up until the introduction of the 2014 regs. Partly that was because of the more durable Bridgestone rubber up until 2010, and partly it was because at the start of the Pirelli era there was a downforce producing technology which was not badly affected by the wake of the car ahead. I’m referring to the exhaust blown diffuser.

    26. As much as I would love to see tyres which allow the drivers to push, I know that if Pirelli introduces that sort of tyres then I’ll be one of the first to criticise boring racing (if it arises). I attended the last ever race at the Valencia street circuit – the only entertaining race to ever take place on that circuit and this is partly a result of the unpredictable tyres which mixed up the order of competition in the first half of 2012.

      The problem now in F1 is that the governing body have imposed a monopoly on the tyres, something that had not been the case until the mid 2000s. With tyre competition you can’t design the tyres for entertainment because it’s all about making the best product. But even previously in F1 there have been times where there has been a solo manufacturer, however they have to produce a good product because there was always the threat of another manufacturer joining the sport and producing a more competitive tyre. With the en vogue ‘We need to fix F1’ talk in the past few years, this has been made possible because the governing body have had more things that they can control – however in some way the show would be better if they had fewer things with which they can interfere and if there were fewer governing decisions that they could be criticised for.

    27. The tyres should only be about performance, never entertainment. The racing in F1 has clearly been worse since 2011 mainly because of the change in philosophy with regards to the tyres, going away from a product made to perform towards a product made to “entertain” people who don’t understand motor-racing and who complained about F1 races being boring pre-2011. F1 is supposed to be about being the best but these tyres are nowhere near being the best, they are terrible and have no place in any serious motor-racing series.

      1. For me the best drivers in the world should be expected to drive flat out all of the time which in the world of modern F1 is impossible to achieve as it stands.

        The changes that are needed are:

        – Tyres which can be pushed flat out with no degradation of note.
        – 2 Mandatory pit stops to be taken with a different tyre compound to be run at each stop.
        – All cars starting with too much fuel to finish the race (so if a race needs 100kg then give them 110kg)
        – Give DRS to everyone at any time however set a limit on the number of uses (Indycar do this with their “push to pass” system) – This allows drivers to use it for both attacking and defending.
        – A big shift from aero grip dominance to mechanical. Mechanical Grip is free, there are no downsides to anyone else around you they can still follow you.

        Benefits

        – Drivers will drive flat out which will lead to more driver mistakes, tyres that don’t degrade at all removes any reason for not driving flat out.
        – Mandatory pit stops keep that level of variation and the different compounds which can be run in whatever order they choose adds to the variation it provides.
        – Giving them more fuel than they need removes the possibility of drivers slowing down, “lift and coasting” etc to save fuel but probably opens up engineering possibilities to burn it off quicker to remove weight.

        These changes would create absolute flat out races putting the talent of the driver on the limit.

        The problems this causes is obviously the difficulties caused by following the car in front etc which needs to be fixed with significant aero changes.

        The whole state of F1 today has been caused by the misguided belief that the definition of an exciting race is one with loads of overtaking, this is the reason we have DRS and the tyres we do today.

        F1 is not solely about overtaking, I don’t know why people suddenly decided it was. I’d much rather watch drivers racing on the absolute limit with 20 great overtakes in a race rather than have a race with 100 DRS overtakes and noone bothering to fight as it’s pointless and you can just DRS your way back ahead on the next straight. An overtake in modern F1 is not even exciting.

        1. More gimmicks or different gimmicks are not the answer.

    28. 3 compounds per race weekend. Is it crazy to instead force a use of all 3 in the race instead of just the two.
      Surely this will force more thinking towards Q2 tyre choice and the final race stint. You therefore have a guaranteed 2 stop, and the pit stop Windows vary far more than we have now.

    29. I wish we could have seen racing after 2010 with only one of the gimmicks introduced and see if one would be enough. Didn’t we get the DRS and tires at the same time in 2011? I really don’t think we need both. Having said that I have lived through many “boring” years and I would gladly go back to the rare one off exciting race that happened naturally than the 2 or 3 we get now artificially. The races really have no flow to them and this has been going on since refueling was reintroduced. 2010 if I remember right was the only year in the last 20 that the races had some kind of flow and build-up to the finish.

    30. One of the basic problems we have in F1 is often the car in front has no competition. They simply stay in front, even after the tyre change they are still in front, or if they aren’t in front then, within a few laps, they are back there. There aren’t half a dozen cars right behind them ready to punish the slightest mistake. If you change to “flat out tyres” then you’ll still have the same situation: the car in front will still be in front without any competition.
      A few days ago matt90 made this comment:

      but until F1 cars become closed-wheel and/or get 3000bhp engines, 300mph couldn’t happen.

      (@matt90 I hope you don’t mind me using your comment).
      I thought that was a very good point. One important aspect of the open wheel format is the wheels themselves create drag, and the faster they go the more the wheels drag, meaning best way to go faster is to have something there to reduce the drag. Therefore, if there is a car racing along without any car in front of it, you’d expect to see cars behind it, taking advantage of the reduced drag from the wheels to go faster, but you don’t. Part of the reason is the aerodynamics of the front wing and radiators (and vertical wings as well!) move the air away from the wheels. You can see this in this picture of the Mercedes W06 (well, it did win constructors’ championship)):
      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/02/01/mercedes-w06-pictures-2015-f1-car-launch/
      Maybe one solution is to ban the moving air away from the wheels, e.g. only a very basic flat surface for the front wing and not allow radiators to cover the rear wheels. This would mean the car at the front has more drag than the cars behind, so the fuel consumption is higher, and the pressure on the tyres is higher, meaning wear is also higher, which hopefully would provide some sort of equalising factor.

    31. Well, current philosophy, I slowly grew to dislike.

      It was fine in 2012 when teams basicly randomly got it right or wrong…. But now they get it right 18/19 races. So mostly its predictable results… + tire saving.

      Id rather have flat out predictable results… Can Nico Rosberg keep behind Lewis Hamilton when they drive flat out 10/10 for 20 laps, will he never make a mistake? And whe he does we will se a gargantuan overtake, the likes of which current era failed to provide yet.

      So it is time for change.

    32. Performance is entertainment for me, I don’t understand the poll, sorry Keith.

        1. In particular the 1st. option “Chiefly performance, no entertainment” is a loaded question, it should have read “All performance, no gimmicks” As @john-h says performance is entertainment.

    33. I deeply believe that to improve the racing 3 things need to happen,

      Rethink the implementation of push-to-pass tools (be it KERS-like boost or DRS), so that it can be battled out on track by the drivers, rewardong the faster thinker.

      Limit the amount of data that can be accessed realtime by the teams on site or rebroadcast to a data center. I am sure a compromise can be reached so that teams can still farm data out from all the sensors after the race weekend, and or have danger lights go off in case certain operational limits are reached. This could be possible with standardised equipment and practices. The objective of this should be to put the emphasis back on the driver for feedback and teamwork for problem solving and away from analysts, like in many other team sports.

      Third, design a long-term road map for incremental performance. Knee jerk reactions are costly, knee jerk R&D is extremely expensive. Stating long term performance goals should attract new technical partnerships.

    34. The essence of F1 should be: push on the limit as long as possible. Of course drivers have to manage fuel consumption (without refueling and with 100kg/race fuel limit), tyre degradation etc. during a 300km racing.
      But I want to see races where drivers can push on the absolute limit much more than nowadays.
      And I write again if we want to see exciting and close F1 races we need
      (1) less differences between cars in total (no equaility, no unification), -> the possibility (to overtake)
      (2) less turbulent air ->more time (to overtake)
      (3) tyres: more mechanical grip (wider) and more durable. -> more time (to overtake)

    35. In an ideal world, some sort of middle ground. Tyres that don’t last forever, but which aren’t totally ruined if they’re hammered for more than a single lap.

      Trouble is, I have no idea how Pirelli (or anyone) could create such a tyre without being able to do a lot of testing with it.

    36. Racing controlled by the boardroom is not racing. F1 was loved and respected because it was participated in by those who just wanted to race. Sadly it seems those days are gone and F1 is now just another tedious promotional tool like the X factor, big brother and such. The pressure to create consumers is slowly running rough shod over everything and simultaneously making everything they wish us to consume undesirable. So the hard sell just gets more aggressive and less appealing to the point that we just walk away because being taken for a mug is not acceptable. F1 is like a micro climate equivalent of the world economy. It’s destroying itself. Good riddance.

    37. Some performance, mainly entertainment, but not Pirelli.

    38. The tyre argument and fuel argument go hand in hand. Formula One should have some element of strategy, but if the tyres are designed for the best possible performance and don’t degrade significantly over time, and refuelling is banned, then there would be no reason to make a pit stop.

      This made me change my opinion on refuelling – I want it back. All other major series around the world have refuelling, so whilst there is a danger associated with it I don’t see why Formula One can’t find a way to deal with it – whether it’s through better protection for members of the pit crew, or the development of better, safer refuelling systems.

      So bring on the new age of refuelling and higher performance tyres.

      1. I think it’d be best if the strategy element was left to solve to the drivers with help from the pit, not how we have it now, some mathematical genius solving variables and relaying the options to the wall, who in turn tell the driver what buttons to push.

      2. Refueling, real racing tires and DRS may be a pretty good combination. Some strategy, some unpredictability, some overtaking and all drivers going flat out all the time. That sounds good to me.

    39. Here we are discussing tyres again, but are they the problem or a symptom of the real problem, too much turbulence from the car in front.

      How many times have we seen the order near the front in a race being static from the first corner to the result. And I am not just talking Mercedes. We only need to look at Silverstone last year and the Williams pair at the beginning of the race.

      I say get rid of some of the aero, so that following cars can get close enough to overtake and not ruin their tyres tying to stay in touch. Then if necessary change the tyre specs. Because at the moment I am not convinced changing tyre specs are actually going to solve any of the problems Keith mentioned.

    40. Interesting results from these surveys, we seem to get so many more comments from the people in the minority, all asserting the absolute correctness of their opinion.

      1. Not to mention all the people taking the easy way out by blaming Pirelli for the mistakes of the FIA and FOM.

        1. @raceprouk, FIA had no say in this fiasco, it’s Bernies tyre supply deal and he now says he only asked for tyres that required 2+ pitstops per race, not tyres that can be ruined in 1 lap, for what it’s worth coming from Bernie.

          1. In other words, he’s throwing Pirelli under the bus. Just like after Silverstone 2013, when everyone conveniently forgot the teams used the tyres in violation of Pirelli’s recommendations.

    41. This is a joke.

      1. Pirelli couldn’t even make tyres that are invincible and who’d even want them to?
      2. Michelin and Bridgestone together had 1-3 stops per race with durable tyres that gave great performance and MOST IMPORTANTLY gave the drivers CONFIDENCE.

      Nice voting and opinions lol.

    42. I selected Mostly Performance, Some Entertainment… but I take great entertainment from watching the performance. So I’m somewhere between the two.

      Performance breeds entertainment in my view.

    43. I think the most important factor was not mentioned. I don’t think it matters much if at all what kind of tires are used. Only one thing really matters. How well the teams understand the tire. The better the teams understand the tires the less variation in strategy, less fighting on the track and more of the races play out exactly like the qualifying session ended.

      But this kind of chaotic nature is not good for tire manufacturers. Not only gives the viewers the impression that it is all about the tires but it can also create situations where teams try to push their luck with dire consquences. Last thing we want is a tire go down in eau rouge or 130R.

      Also one thing to remember that no matter how how well a driver can go fast and protect the tires in the end 95% of the tire wear is decided by the car itself. Different cars wear out the tires at different rates and within teams there is not much difference between expert fast tire saver and typical f1 driver performance.

      In the end it is matter of information. Typically the better the racing the better pirelli understands their tires while the worse the teams understand the tires.

    44. I’m in the part that watches a sport, regardless of how entertaining it is. And that should be down to its nature – i.e. driving top-class single-seaters around circuits at 300kph. Overtaking was always a part of it otherwise we’d stop at qualifying sessions, but if nothing happens you are expected to see, as much now as fifty years ago, the drivers finish pretty much in the same order they started, if you take away gimmicks like race-fuel qualifying, race-tyre qualifying and unfortunate events like technical failures.

    45. i voted ‘chiefly performance, not entertainment’ but (in my head) only in the context of a tyre war. however, as mentioned in the article, this is a fallacy if there is only one supplier. the corollary of designing and racing these cars to their maximum performance should in theory be an entertaining spectacle.

      however, there were times in the mid 00’s when this wasn’t the case. the argument has been made that cars don’t need to be driving flat out for the race to be exciting (i agree to an extent – have you ever seen the mixed up touring car race at the goodwood revival? it’s awesome, but the cars aren’t exactly flying round the lap) but for formula 1 the spectacle (the “show”) should be inherent in watching the cars perform.

      when people are driving visibly slow on the current tyres, it makes me cringe. the fact it reduces the likelihood for error really makes it all that much worse.

      so the solution is: tyre war!

    46. Perhaps this is a bad idea, but would the introduction of

      1 – long lasting “flat out” tyres &
      2 – Teams to choose fuelling options

      introduce an element of mixed strategies which could lead to entertainment. Furthermore it would be a fairer approach as all teams have the same options open to them. A team could fuel light but have to refuel more (or have a longer pit stop), or they could fuel heavy and remain on track longer. It could lead to a culmination of strategies resulting in an entertaining end-of-race. Back of field teams could go for riskier strategies which might pay off in certain circumstances.

      But I’m just an F1 fan who wants to see racing, strategy and skill – not artificial ways of adding quirks to a race. When Ecclestone actually suggested random sprinklers on tracks to create wet races I realised that F1 was being turned into Mario Kart. Now I love Mario Kart, but I want it to be kept distanced from actual sport. If I see bananas on track and blue shells hitting the race leader then I’m switching off the TV and getting my Nintendo 2DS out.

    47. For sure, I want F1 to be the pinnacle of motorsports. It means that development should not be artificially held back just to make the races or the championship more entertaining. Realistically, though, that is not always possible. F1 needs audience and I am afraid that a ‘flat-out’ F1 would not be interesting enough for the hundreds of millions of spectators that the sport strives to attract these days.

      I would prefer to see budget caps, money distribution schemes or rules that would make the teams more equal. That, in turn, would most likely lead to more unpredictability and excitement. But as long these things either do not happen or are ineffective, F1 needs to come up with other ways to make things more exciting. While ‘designed-to-degrade’ tyres might be a gimmick, they are still better than DRS, double points, Caution Clock, Fanboost and other terrible things that the world of motorsport has managed to “invent” over the last years.

      I think that some gimmickry in F1 is inevitable and I can only hope that the sport will still be mainly about performance in the future. Pirelli tyres deserve scrutiny and criticism but they are certainly not the worst thing that could happen to F1.

    48. There are two major problems in F1 and the type of tyres is (in itself) not one of them.

      The first fundamental problem with F1 today is the elimination of uncertainty, most clearly represented by the use of simulation programs by teams to run the race multiple times before it even starts. It won’t matter if the tyres are made rock hard, to degrade quickly, slowly, over a cliff, as soon as the teams collect enough data and run it through their supercomputers, the best possible strategy is defined and the drivers are made to run to it. It won’t matter if you apply reverse grids, as the supercomputers will determine the optimal qualifying strategy to get the optimal start position to allow for optimal points collection. It won’t matter if Bernie installs sprinklers to make wet tracks because the supercomputers will compile a strategy that gives the optimal result based on all available data and probabilities.

      The second fundamental problem is the minimisation of risk at all times. We can’t have cars pushed to the limit because exploding engines are a bad image to have for the manufacturers. Drivers can’t take risks to overtake because they get penalised for the slightest touch on another car because it might spoil their race. Tracks have ridiculously big run off areas because we can’t risk even the slightest contact with a wall.

      Both these issues are driven by money. Manufacturers and sponsors spend big money in the sport and want certainty in their returns on that investment. Therefore, we want to minimise risk and maximise the certainty of what they will get back. teams spend there money on simulations, etc. to deliver this for them. All the rule changes, DRS, tyres, penalty points, “enforced” track limits (what a joke), blah blah blah won’t make “the show” more attractive because there are fundamental flaws at the core of the “product”.

      But I will still be there in Melbourne….

    49. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      14th February 2016, 18:07

      I find it hard to get the point here, because to me
      Performance = Entertainment.

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