Rubens Barrichello has questioned the tyre choice that official supplier Bridgestone has made for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, echoing similar suggestions that the supersoft compound will not fare well.
The Brazilian veteran pointed to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to back up his argument that the softest of the four tyre options in the Bridgestone range would likely be too soft for the abrasive Shanghai International Circuit, and would not allow the drivers to perform at their ultimate when forced to run a mandatory stint on the rubber.
"I still need to understand what is the reason why we bring such different tyres, if it's for the show itself or....," Barrichello mused during the official FIA press conference in China,
"I think we have a very good tyre for here, and a softer tyre which all the teams might struggle with. That may make the race itself very nice because someone might be struggling, you have overtaking and that's quite nice, but I'm sure we're capable of bringing – out of the four types of tyre that we have – different tyres that can be better for us drivers.
"In Australia, the tyres were already graining after five laps and it will be the same here, possibly even more because the track itself is more abrasive - and, if it's cold, the tyres are going to be a bad effect. If this is for the show itself, I don't think it's dangerous for us – danger in the way that you could be driving five seconds slower and another car is catching up quite quickly, but it's lovely for the show."
Barrichello's comments were echoed by several other drivers, not least double world champion Fernando Alonso, who branded the decision to bring the supersoft and medium compounds 'ridiculous' and 'a joke'.
"I think it is the worst decision they made in a long time," he told the official F1 website, "I don't know if Bridgestone made the decision or the FIA, but they have to reconsider this type of decision because we look ridiculous on television and we look ridiculous for the spectators - it is a joke to be in front of TV [going] six seconds slower and [needing] to change the tyres after five or six laps."
Barrichello, meanwhile, admitted that, tyres aside, he was looking forward to returning to the scene of his last grand prix victory, when he headed home current Brawn team-mate Jenson Button at the inaugural Chinese GP in 2004, even though the switch to an April date made things different.
"I like the track very much, and it is a track on which I've always gone quite well," he reflected, "The weather is going to be dodgy, maybe just because we changed the date of the race, but it could play into good hands. I think the first two races have been quite good for the spectators to see the racing, plus the wet has brought more of a show, so I think this one will be no different."