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Wider tyre difference approved of by drivers.

Despite complaints that the supersofts were 'too soft' and the mediums 'too hard' in Melbourne, those drivers quizzed on the decision to bring a bigger variation on tyre specification to 2009 grands prix appear to be in favour.

The move is part of the FIA's determination to add some excitement to Formula One, and goes hand-in-hand with the return of Bridgestone's slick tyres to the top flight for 2009, but initial comments from Australia suggested that it hadn't gone down too well with those forced to run on the rubber.

However, when the topic was raised in the first official press conference of the weekend in Malaysia, those present admitted that, in their view, the change was 'a very good thing for the sport', with the consequent effects on strategy and excitement.

"For sure, it makes the race much more exciting when somebody has the harder and somebody the softer tyres, so it makes the lap time difference much bigger between the cars, so you can see some overtaking," 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen commented.

"It's a little bit tricky to get them working in the way you want sometimes. For us, the soft tyre didn't last very long, so we just came in and changed the tyres, and it was a good move. Everybody needs to suffer on the worse tyre at some point in the race. For us, we decided to start with them...."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who was struggling on the softer compound in the closing stages, leading to his shunt with BMW's Robert Kubica, admitted that there may have been a bigger difference between the options in Australia owing to the conditions.

"I think it has an effect on your strategy," the German confirmed, "You could see everyone was struggling the whole weekend to make the soft tyre last and, therefore, the majority of the people pitted very late for the last stop and had a very, very short last stint.

"It's always tricky in a way. We asked for a wider separation between soft and hard [but] in Australia, there was quite an extreme wide separation as the hard ones were difficult to warm up and the soft ones were difficult to keep alive."

"I think it's a very good thing for the sport, as it makes it very challenging for the teams to get it right," Williams' Nico Rosberg claimed, "It's a big challenge to sort out strategy - what you're going to do, how you're going to do it - because there's such a variable in it with these tyres. For the racing, it's great, as we saw in Melbourne. I was a special victim of that, and just went backwards [because] I was just so slow on the softs - they just went away completely. But I'm happy with it, I think it's good."



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Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Toro Rosso STR4 Ferrari 056  ING Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix Rd 1 World F1 Championship Albert Park Melbourne  Vic
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
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27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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