Vitantonio Liuzzi has said that Pirelli needs to be congratulated, rather than condemned, for producing a range of F1 tyres that are difficult to control.
The Italian, who has had to take another step back from the top flight after failing to raise the budget to retain his HRT seat, has railed against recent comments made by Michael Schumacher which called for the tyre manufacturer to rethink its concept to produce rubber that lasted longer and did not play such a big part in deciding the outcome of races.
"Everyone has to drive well below a driver's and, in particular, the car's limits to maintain the tyres," Schumacher told reporters in the Bahrain GP paddock, "I'm not happy about the situation. I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance. They should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car."
Liuzzi, however, insists that it is up to the team and drivers to work to the tyres in order to make them work better.
“It's always a challenge for both drivers and engineers to set up the car properly and get the maximum out of them," the Italian, now plying his trade in the successful SuperStars touring car series, noted in an interview with gocar.gr, "The tyres are not blowing up, they are not blistering - but it's a tricky situation. We have to give thumbs up to Pirelli for the work they have done.”
Liuzzi is not alone in opposing Schumacher's comments, as the German's own team-mate recently admitted that he enjoyed the challenge of working with the latest Pirellis.
"We have seen already this year that, when you go from one condition to another, one racetrack to another, one temperature to another... different cars are better on the tyres, so there's a very big engineering challenge to understand why, to adapt and to try and be the one to understand the tyres best," Nico Rosberg told Autosport, "Personally, I think it's great for the season [and] couldn't be better for F1."
Rosberg, of course, broke his F1 victory duck in the Chinese Grand Prix, and once again leads Mercedes' championship challenge with 35 points to Schumacher's two. Admittedly, the seven-time world champion has had the worst of the team's luck, twice retiring through no fault of his own, but he appears to be in the minority when it comes to objecting to Pirelli's current rubber, even though the likes of McLaren have also struggled for consistency across the opening four races of the year.
“The explanation is Pirelli – it's the tyres,” driver-turned-commentator Marc Surer told Servus TV. “Sometimes, maybe, it's a bit too much, [but] it's been a question of who can make them work, and that is dependant on a number of factors.
“Bridgestone made great tyres that could hold on for the whole race, [but] the only tension was when the two at the front were going to pit. Now, there is a stress factor that has been produced by the tyre company.”