Michael Schumacher’s second criticism of Pirelli’s 2012 tyres seems odd. Considering that he received little support from those inside the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team let alone others around the paddock, one would have thought Schumacher would have kept his frustrations to himself. We should remember though, Schumacher doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks and as long as Mercedes’ head of motorsport, Norbert Haug, allows his two drivers to ‘speak freely’ as he put it, there will be more to come. Even if a censorship was placed upon the team from the bosses in Stuttgart, one would not think it would apply to Schumacher.
The point he raises is something of great interest however, drivers driving within themselves is a something the layman would think absurd. However over the model 2011 Pirellis seemed not to fulfil the job many hoped, that is to create an exciting and fresh spectacle of unpredictable racing. These thoughts and reviews of last season’s racing are somewhat be distorted by the pure dominance of Vettel and Red Bull.
I would dare suggest that maybe this year’s tyres may carry a certain aspect of over-correction. That is to say racing which is too unpredictable is perhaps the order of today, too unpredictable for all the viewers, too unpredictable for all the expert commentators and analysts and perhaps too unpredictable for the teams and the drivers. This is the very consensus of Schumacher’s argument.
From here, we can elaborate onto his full statement. With the unpredictably, so far, of the four races this season, teams fly into the weekend not quite knowing where they will place after Friday and Saturday over one lap pace, let alone Sunday after 56 odd laps. The tyres for most of the teams, tend not to lend themselves to such aggressive driving which is especially required if you find yourself in a competitive car down near the bottom of the ladder. Schumacher has found himself in this position twice but under completely different conditions. In Malaysia after an unfortunate spin, Schumacher really struggled to climb the ladder in Pirelli’s green intermediate tyres. The reason for this is that Mercedes simply did not have the tyres under control at all as was evident the previous week in Melbourne. The second instance of Schumacher’s helplessness is of course the Bahrain race, where seemingly he was simply off the pace in the race. After the race he came out and claimed that the tyres just did not allow him to drive to the cars limit, rather to the limit of the tyres.
Although we can possibly put down this outburst of frustration down to the fact that Schumacher has had horrible luck at all four weekends, his comments will undoubtedly cause people to take notice and at the very least read what he has to say. Some might agree although no one will go on the record.
Personally, I think that it is much too early to have a clear and truthful opinion on the tyres, the first race was well, the first race, the second race was wet, the third one was unusually cold and the fourth one was incredibly hot. We will have to wait to see what happens at a normal European race this weekend. So in that respect it should be an eye opener