The reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton had strong words for Pirelli in the wake of recent tire problems. Hamilton urged the Italian manufacturer to make a “better tire” for 2022.
Formula One is slowly heading into the unwanted direction of a sport that prioritizes tire management over racing. Drivers these days cannot push flat out due to the fear of Pirelli’s rubber wearing out sooner than expected.
In an otherwise uneventful race in Barcelona, Hamilton’s only rival was Pirelli. The British driver had to worry about the state of his tires and what compound to use next.
Therefore, despite winning the event, Hamilton didn’t hold back from calling out Pirelli over its problems.
“We really need to put a lot of pressure on Pirelli for the future,” Hamilton said. “They didn’t, unfortunately, do a great job with a tyre at the end of last year, to develop the 2020 tyre. And so we had to carry over the same tyre from 2019 into this season.
“Moving forwards, they’re probably not going to be able to do it for next year, but for 2022 we need a better tyre, we need a tyre that gives us more grip, better safety, and enables us to to drive closer to cars and give you guys and the fans better racing.
“Right now, we’re [doing] a serious amount of management. And I don’t think that’s what the fans want.
“That’s not what a racing driver wants, to have to manage it behind a car, multiple seconds behind, because the tyres are not good enough.”
Gone are the days of hard racing, when F1 drivers could concentrate on doing the one thing that makes the sport a spectacle. Sadly, current F1 races are all about ‘managing gaps’ and looking after the tires instead of driving to the limit.
It’s hard to blame the teams for prioritizing viability over performance, given the importance of scoring points. As a result, the key to solving F1’s tire compound problems lies entirely with Pirelli.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, tire management played an important role in deciding the finishing order of the race. Hopefully, Pirelli solves its tire woes for the next generation of F1 cars.