Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne insists F1 2011 tyre-supplier Pirelli should be 'applauded' for reversing two decades' of monotonous racing in the top flight by going out on a limb and risking its global reputation with a bold and 'ballsy' approach this year.
Whilst predecessor Bridgestone was inherently conservative by nature, Pirelli's brief upon rejoining the grand prix grid this season following a two-decade absence was to produce deliberately fast-degrading tyres, in an effort to spice up the show.
On the evidence of the last three outings in Malaysia, China and Turkey, that brief has been fulfilled in some style – and Gascoyne contends the Italian manufacturer deserves considerable credit for having been brave enough to put its neck on the line in purposely designing a less-than-perfect product.
“We change the tyre-supplier and suddenly we have fantastic racing,” the Englishman wrote in The Daily Telegraph
, arguing that the effect has been more markèd than any brought about by 20 years of constant regulation changes in F1. “Pirelli are to be applauded for their boldness in going down the route they have.
“We will have occasions now where a driver in the lead will lose the race because of their tyres, and the last thing any tyre manufacturer in F1 wants is for a driver to get out of the car and say the tyres were useless and that is why they lost the race. To be producing tyres that add to the show is a ballsy approach, and that is of huge credit to Pirelli.”
Gascoyne's remarks have been reinforced by both F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Jean Todt, the pair for once in agreement over something.
“I am so happy with Pirelli and I thank them,” underlined the British billionaire, admitting that he specifically requested tyres this year 'that wouldn't last for more than a third of the race'. “They've done a super job.”
“Only Pirelli would do it,” he added in an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick
, praising the tyres as '90 per cent' responsible for the greatly improved spectacle in F1 2011. “It was brave, and the show has improved. Michelin and Bridgestone refused to build tyres like this because they were worried about their image.”
“I must welcome Pirelli, because they have made very brave decisions,” echoed Todt, speaking to Spanish publication La Stampa
. “I have followed the first races on TV, including practice and qualifying, and I have found it rather exciting. The return of KERS, the moveable wing and the new tyres have really helped to improve the show.”