Ferrari’s Horse Whisperer has been quiet of late but you had this nagging feeling that he/she would rise to the occasion and comment on the tire (tyre) issue didn’t you? Of course Ferrari, who are doing quite well with the temperamental Pirelli tire compounds of 2013. Now that Pirelli have announced they are changing the compounds, some of the teams are not happy… Lotus and Ferrari to name two.

Pirelli motor sport boss, Paul Hembery, said that Red Bull would be the benefactor and then said it was not a change due to safety. Now the press have looked at the rule book and questioned those original comments. An enterprising Jonathan Noble at AUTOSPORT posed the question about Article 12.6.3 of F1’s technical regulations and you can read his conclusions here. In short, the supplier can change the tires if there is a safety concern.

“Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.”

The exception would be safety concerns that required a change.

“If in the opinion of the appointed tyre supplier and FIA technical delegate, the nominated tyre specification proves to be technically unsuitable, the stewards may authorise the use of additional tyres to a different specification.”

Hembery said there was no safety concern as well so are they in breach of Article 12.6.3?

Ferrari feel people have short memories as their Horse Whisperer points out:

“These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.

A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow.

It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago when, at the very same Catalunya Circuit and on the Istanbul track, five of the six drivers who got to those two podiums made exactly the same number of pit stops as did Alonso and Massa last Sunday in the Spanish Grand Prix.

In fact, there’s nothing new about winning a race making so many pit stops, even discounting those where it was down to changeable weather. One only has to look back to 2004, when Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix thanks to what was a three stop strategy, later changed to a four stopper. That was the key which allowed the multiple champion’s F2004 to get ahead of the then Renault driver, Fernando Alonso, who made three stops. And on that day and we remember it well, our strategy and the tyre supplier were showered with praise for allowing us to get the most out of the car.

Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available. On top of that, if this choice emerges right from the Friday, because all the simulations are unanimous in selecting it, then why on earth should one feel embarrassed when compared to those who have gone for a different choice, only to regret it during the race itself.”

That’s the latest on the tire saga so what do you think? Does Ferrari have a point? It will be interesting to see if all of you anti-Ferrari fans can swallow some McLaren pride and actually support the Horse Whisperer.  ;)


An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • So the Horse Whisperer call out the naaaaay sayers.

  • Anthony

    Surely The Horse is neglecting that in those previous 3/4 stop races, the drivers were racing flat out vs 3/4 stops cruising around nursing their tyres!!!

    • sam

      and may be you my friend forgetting, that time cars were different too according to that tire specifications…..since 2010 F1 is totally different from the previous tyres are the most integral part of a F1 car and that makes F1 more and more interesting.

      • UAN

        “makes F1 more and more interesting.”

        Wasn’t everyone complaining last year about 7 different winners from 7 different races? People were downright confused. I thought Eddie Jordan would start to cry :). Though to be fair, only Maldonado was unexpected, and more a result of McLaren’s blunder. Nico’s was overdue and folks expected the Merc to have won sooner than China. Vettel would have been a double winner if not for Valencia.

        In the latter half of last year, Pirelli started bringing the harder compounds to all the races, so the tires weren’t a big story. Also, I believe it was James Allison who said after the season, that teams actually never understood the tires, it was only the more conservative choice of tires that made it seem that way.

        When teams would have gone through 4 stops on the Hard tire if they had them in China (Red Bull went through 3 sets of New hard tires) there is an issue. And it’s not like even the 4 stoppers for the outset (Alonso, Massa) where pushing it the whole way. They were just going less slow.

  • dude

    People still read the Horse Whisperer? I get about the same contents from watching Bill O’Reilly.

    I wonder how much this guy gets paid for writing these craps.

    • dude

      PS. I was not making a pun toward SJ Skid, although I’m beginning to miss his absence.

  • MIE

    So the tyres can only be changed for safety. Which is safer:
    Mansell at Adelaide in 1986, or Vergne in Spain 2013?

    Alonso pitting two laps early in Spain 2013 due to a puncture, or Villeneuve trying to get back to the pits on three wheels in Zandvoort in 1979?

    While delaminating tyres don’t look pretty, I think they are safer than the alternative.

  • mini696

    I would have thought a better tyre would help Mercedes more than anyone else. After all they are the fastest car on track, but the hardest on the tyre.

    I think Ferrari are talking horse dung as usual.

    But anyway, how is there not a safety issue with the delaminations we are seeing? Even if this ‘could’ be fixed without changing the underlying characteristics of the tyre, Pirelli would still use this opportunity to improve their design.

    Besides which we want better racing back again, a race controlled by the drivers and cars with ‘input’ from the tyres.