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Gascoyne applauds 'ballsy' Pirelli for reversing two decades of F1 boredom

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne praises Pirelli for having had the guts to put its global reputation on the line this year with the sole aim of improving the F1 show
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.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
07.05.2011- Qualifying, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
Race, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
Saturday Practice, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA
Saturday, Jean Todt (FRA), President FIA and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
08.04.2011- Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Sunday, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
20.02.2011- Mike Gascoyne (GBR), Lotus F1 Team, Chief Technical Officer
Friday, Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer, Lotus Racing
Thursday, Mike Gascoyne (GBR), Lotus F1 Team, Chief Technical Officer
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Spaceman Spiff - Unregistered

May 12, 2011 3:44 PM

I am torn on this subject. On one hand, I agree that competition has been spiced up by the quickly degrading tyres, but on the other hand I strongly believe that the goal of F1 technology development should be used to improve (not degrade) performance and at least attempt to be road-relevant. Unfortunately these points are diametrically opposed in this case. Perhaps the technical regulations can find a way to bring in the missing road-relevance and technical improvement by updating the tyre specs to reflect the "modern" movement toward low-profile, minimal weight configuration. How about it FIA... can we keep the improved "spectacle" and move toward improving (some of) the technical aspects as well ?

Taz - Unregistered

May 12, 2011 8:00 PM

Never been massively swayed by the tyre manufacturer who's in F1 ever affecting my tyre choice, rallying or superbikes does tho as it's more relevant to road tyre technology

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