The struggles at teams expected to be challenging for points and more this season could be down to the latest specification of Pirelli tyres – but not in the way most have been complaining about.
While the levels of degradation have caused consternation up and down the pit-lane over the opening three grands prix, Blick
's technical analyst claims that the actual design of the latest PZeros may have caught the likes of McLaren, Sauber and Williams off-guard.
“Both [McLaren and Sauber] now believe they know where the problem lies,” Mike Hammer wrote, “It has to do with the new Pirelli tyres. They are more angular than in 2012, and then deform differently in the corners, which has a great influence on the aerodynamics. Millimetres play a role, but the 60 per cent tyre for the wind tunnel models have led McLaren and Sauber astray.”
Pirelli motorsport chief Paul Hembery has apparently admitted that 'it is not easy to build good 60 per cent tyres', adding that the Italian manufacturer was having to cater for 'eleven teams with eleven different wind tunnels'.
McLaren was delighted to get Jenson Button into the top ten in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but team-mate Sergio Perez again fell short on another difficult weekend for the Woking outfit. Nico Hulkenberg was the best Sauber, in 14th spot.