While Ecclestone squirms in the court rooms of the EU, Vettel relishes in his fourth F1 Championship and the rest of the teams get ready for their trip to The Circuit of America in Austin, TX USA, there is a lot going on behind the headlines in F1.
One example is the uber important issue of tires. For all the wrong reasons Pirelli has been in the headlines all season. Shredding tires, poor performance, unpredictable wear rates and the constant changing of compound standards as they struggled to balance track performance with longevity, has made many doubt the F1 move to Pirelli. I’m confident it made Pirelli question its participation in F1 also. But, conversations are ongoing between FIA and Pirelli, and with a long(er) term contract in hand, Pirelli is now demanding more testing before they field next year’s tires sitting under the high torque Turbo-V6 engines.
Part of Pirelli’s defense in regards to the quality of the product they put on the tarmac is the fact that teams like Lotus excelled in using these tires, while others could not. Team Mercedes as an example has been great in qualifying, and then tended to fade in the races. Lotus qualifying has been good, but their tire usage during the races has been excellent. Team Red Bull, and especially the #1 car piloted by Sebastian Vettel seems to excel in all aspects.
When asked by a CNN staff reporter why some teams do not win on Pirelli tires, Pirelli’s Marco Tronchetti Provera responded by saying,
“It was not because of tires — If they didn’t use the tires properly, it’s not our fault.”
He makes an excellent point.