Tyres: Just a thought


Monday (30 May) was a public holiday in England, which meant that it rained for much of the day.

Faced with a severe shortage of entertainment, the Pitpass crew did what most English people do on wet public holidays, went to the pub.

Ostensibly this was to watch the play off (soccer) match between West Ham and Preston North End, however it was also a good time to garner opinion re Sunday's, eventful, European Grand Prix.

As has been the case for much of the 2005 season, 'man down the pub' is really getting into F1, though opinion on the 'big issue', Kimi Raikkonen's last lap retirement was pretty much divided.

Having witnessed the entire incident on TV, and knowing that it was inevitable that it would end in tears, most people believed that either McLaren should have called the driver in, or that Kimi himself should have made the choice.

It was pointed out by Pitpass editor Chris Balfe, that Kimi was never likely to make such a choice, especially as it would have cost him a win, and that it is this 'racer's instinct' that sets them apart from mere mortals, indeed it is this (almost) superhuman mentality and bravery that attracts fans to the sport. These men do what we cannot, they do what we do not have the balls to do.

When we mere mortals have a minor incident in our cars, we invariably reach for the Brandy, or, in most cases, a mug of hot sweet tea.

How many times have we seen a racing driver climb out of a totally mangled car, dust himself down, then head back to the pits to get into the spare and have another go?

Balfe cited the example of Derek Warwick, who 'lost it' at the Ascari Chicane at Monza one year. It was a horrible crash and the Englishman was trapped in the gravel trap in his upturned car. Nonetheless, as soon as 'Del boy' was free he actually began running back to his pit to get into the spare.

Then there was the horrible weekend at Le Mans a few years back, when it seemed almost impossible to keep the Mercedes' on the ground. There were a number of horrific incidents that weekend, and we were lucky that nobody was killed. Yet despite the fact that the car was dangerous - and how - drivers such as Mark Webber persisted, whereas mere mortals would have said "stuff this", or words to that effect.

Anyway, accepting the current tyre regulation, and the fact that it was introduced both to cut costs and to put the 'wow factor' back into F1, and knowing that a driver will never surrender, especially while leading, editor Balfe came up with his own idea with regards tyres.

It's generally accepted that much of the blame for the condition of Kimi's tyres was down to his aggressive driving. This, of course, is reminiscent of the days when Alain 'the professor' Prost was racing. The Frenchman was a remarkably smooth driver - a style followed by Damon Hill and Jenson Button. Prost would nurse his tyres.

Rivals such as Senna, on the other hand, would roar off into the distance, and thrash the living daylights out of their 'boots'.

The question was, would Prost be too conservative, or would Senna build up enough of a lead that he could afford the time to stop for fresh rubber.

It was intriguing to watch events unfold.

Therefore, bearing all this in mind, why can't we have a regulation whereby a driver can stop for fresh rubber - on all four corners if necessary - however, the tyre stop is entirely separate to the fuel stop.

Drivers who are easy on their tyres would carry on pretty much as they do now, whereas a charger would need to build up enough of a lead in order to make that additional stop for fresh rubber.

Let's face it, the days of Prost, Senna and Co, were pretty bloody marvellous.

Just a thought.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 31/05/2005
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