While not necessarily agreeing with his fellow world champion's sentiments when it comes to this year's Pirelli tyres, Fernando Alonso believes that Michael Schumacher's criticism has been blown out of proportion by journalists looking for a story.

The Mercedes driver was initially vocal in his criticism of the tyres following last month's Bahrain Grand Prix, [see story here], and then used the build-up to this weekend's event in Barcelona to back up his claims, telling CNN that the rubber, and the way it degrades, was affecting the quality of the racing, despite there having been four winners in as many rounds.

"I just think they are playing much too big an effect, because they are so peaky and so special that we don't put the cars or ourselves to the limit," Schumacher said, "We drive like we're on raw eggs and don't want to stress the tyres at all otherwise you just overdo it and you go nowhere."

While the comparison to 'raw eggs' has provided plenty of scope for mirth amongst F1 observers - it is thought the seven-time champion was referring to the more commonly-used phrase 'driving on eggshells' - Alonso also believes that his rival's comments have been used against him.

"I don't agree that Michael has continually criticised Pirelli," he told reporters, having been confronted by questions about Schumacher's motives, "Michael said one thing and what has been written in the press has maybe exaggerated what he said. I read what he said, and I don't see any big problem with that."

While the German's former Ferrari team-mate, Felipe Massa, has praised Pirelli for the changes they have made to the tyres for 2012 - "I think Pirelli is doing a better job this year than last, when we had some races where the tyres did not work well," he claimed, "Maybe the tyre choice in Bahrain was a bit too much on the soft side but, in general, I think they are working well this season so far." - reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel pointed out that perceptions were probably different from inside and outside of the cockpit.

"I think we get a completely different impression inside the car than you might get outside it," he noted, "So, you're always talking of two different worlds. I think, for us, [in terms of] quality of racing, if you compare racing today, you have to look after your tyres a lot more than probably you had to three, four, five years ago. If you take, for instance, 2009, where we were allowed to refuel and had new tyres, the tyres lasted longer, in that they didn't see that much degradation. It was a different quality inside the car because you can push nearly every lap similar to qualifying, whereas now I think the racing is different: we fuel the cars up, they are much heavier and, if you have a heavier car, there's more stress for the tyres, so it puts the whole thing in a different window.

"If you put a new set of tyres on with 20 laps to go, or 15 laps to go, which is, let's say, the stint length a couple of years ago, it's a different world for the tyres. The tyres do see more degradation and then we start to slide and then one guy slides more than the other because he puts his tyres on two laps earlier. It creates a different type of racing, [with] more overtaking, which I imagine is seen as better quality from the outside, simply because things happen. I think it depends what you really want. We have more overtaking [and] I think the races over the last two years, since we have changed a couple of things, have become much better.

"Also, I had a race here [in Barcelona] where I was following Felipe [Massa] for 60 laps and couldn't pass. Nowadays, you know that your chance will come in the race and that's changing the position inside the car as well."

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has dismissed suggestions that the bigger gap between tyre compounds scheduled for this weekend's Spanish GP will play a major part in his thinking in Barcelona.

"I feel like I'm driving the same, I'm still aggressive," he told the official F1 website, "The tyres are a little more fragile this year, so attacking as much as perhaps I've done in the past was not going to work. In the last race [in Bahrain], I was attacking, but I could have attacked a lot more if the tyres could have lasted. I would love to have just pushed.

"However, I don't think that it's costing me any more than the others. I've actually just been told by the engineers that they have analysed my and Jenson [Button]'s races and I have been easier on the tyres in the races, which has been a pleasure to hear because everyone talks about how aggressive my driving style is and how aggressive I am with the tyres."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment