McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has come to the defence of Pirelli in the wake of criticism from Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher launched another attack on Pirelli's 2012 F1 tyres earlier this week, saying that drivers are being forced to drive 'like we're on raw eggs' and that the tyres 'are playing much too big an effect' on the racing [see separate story - HERE]. Whitmarsh, however, disagrees, and added that it is up to the teams and drivers to manage the usage.

"There is no doubt that the tyres are a definite challenge within F1, but they have added to the spectacle," he said during the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in in the countdown to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. "There is also no doubt that when a driver has had a bad race he will complain about them.

"But if they made tyres that were very robust and not challenging in terms of management from either the team or driver's perspective then I'm sure the spectators would be critical of the tyres as they won't create the right spectacle.

"In summary, they are challenging and there have been times when they have certainly given up. The last race in Bahrain was certainly one of those times, where we weren't in the right window of operation and that affected our performance in the race quite dramatically. But I think it would be wrong to criticise the tyres.

"I think you've got to look at it as a team and look at what the drivers are doing and look at how to manage the situation."

Meanwhile, Whitmarsh added that while he would like to have seen McLaren win all four races this year, he has been delighted with how entertaining the sport is for all the spectators.

"I feel that we are involved in one of the most interesting and intriguing championships for a while," he continued. "F1 is producing a really great show. For the doubters of KERS, DRS and the tyres, there have been hundreds of overtakes and this is in a sport that a few years ago people were saying there wasn't any overtaking.

"We have made subtle changes, DRS in particular, to the pinnacle of motorsport. A lot of people didn't like the idea. Given how close the racing is there it's almost like you're obliged to drop your car into traffic and then your driver is obliged to overtake to make progress in the race. That's what the sport should be about.

"So I think the standout thing this year is what's happened on the track and the exciting championship we have in prospect."

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