For the 2017 season, Pirelli has introduced tyres that would last longer thus allowing for drivers to push harder. But I believe that’s a bad idea.
After moaning and bickering for larger part of 2016, the world breathed a collective sigh when it was announced that going into the 2017 season, Pirelli will make longer lasting tyres. It was promised that the tyres wouldn’t ‘fall off’ suddenly during the end of its lifecycle and that the degrading would be a lot less gradual. It would just hold on.
We saw the result of this promise at the Australian GP when nearly the entire grid did a one-stopper race and the drivers were able to push till the very end without worrying about the tyres reaching their limits. While everyone has unanimously lauded this new direction by Pirelli, I think, it’s not a good idea.
Australian GP was a mildly exciting race. The tyres didn’t have a very big say in the outcome of the race; which is a good thing, I agree. But by removing the degradation factor, all we’ve done is reduce the number of pitstops, making the races a lot more processional affair.
So here we now have two issues staring at us straight in the face:
1. We don’t want tyres to have a surprise degradation factor.
2. However, if we make more durable tyres, we reduce the number of pitstops.
We want the drivers to push the machines to their limits without worrying about the tyres falling off. This can be countered by making more durable tyres
So how do we make long lasting tyres and also make sure we don’t see one-stopper, yawn-inducing races? Simple, make two-stop races. Currently, every team is required to use at leats two different tyre compounds by law. Change that to THREE different tyre compounds.
Right now, teams are being offered five tyre choices. Let’s keep the intermediates and wets out of the equation. For the dry weather, the teams have three tyre compounds from which they have to use any two. Change this to four tyre options from which the teams can use any three during the course of the race.
This will take care of both the above mentioned issues. On top of that, four tyre options will provide a wider range of permutations and combinations, which will result in more varied strategies and lot more exciting races.
Yes, it will be a logistical nightmare for Pirelli but well, what needs to be done needs to be done. In fact, if they choose smartly, it might not be such a big issue. Currently, each team is provided 13 sets of dry weather tyres. Change it to 12 sets of dry weather tyres (three set each of the four dry compound).
Freddy, the polar bear, sitting at the North Pole won’t be very happy about it initially. But if we broadcast these interesting races to him I’m sure he’ll sit with his wife Martha and say, “Yes, I understand. Degradation is a real cause of concern. We shouldn’t leave for our children a dying sport.”
Pirelli and FIA, get this sorted please.