McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh might have stopped short of echoing criticism from other quarters, but admits that the latest Pirelli rubber could make or break a race.

Michael Schumacher has been the most outspoken opponent of this year's tyres, claiming the reduced longevity of the rubber meant that drivers were having to resist the temptation to race flat-out in order to contain degradation.

"I question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, [as] everyone has to drive well below a their and, in particular, the car's limits to maintain the tyres," Schumacher told reporters immediately after the Bahrain Grand Prix, ""If it was a one-off car issue, you could say it's up to us to deal with it, but it's not. The tyres should last a bit longer, so that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car."

Whitmarsh admitted that it was likely that failing to look after the tyres underpinned his team's lack of pace in the same Bahrain race, but refused to join Schumacher in clamouring for change.

"These tyres are very, very challenging," Whitmarsh told sportinglife.com, "If you're in the sweet spot, you're in great shape - if not, you're in for a pretty tough time, and we gave both of our drivers a tough time.

"We were clearly too hard on the tyres, they were going away very quickly, and both drivers really struggled.

"That lack of predictability is great for the fans, [but] it's a bit of a concern [for the teams]. However, we have to be calm, analytical and fix it."