Former F1 world champion Damon Hill has questioned whether Pirelli is playing into Red Bull's hands by opting to tweak its hard tyre compound ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
The Briton, who currently works as an analyst for Sky Sports F1
, pointed out that Red Bull had been at the vanguard of complaints about this year's batch of tyres, which are generally softer than their 2012 predecessors, and would welcome an adjustment that took the current spec back towards last year's. Although other teams have also been vociferous in their objections to the 2013 tyres, none look as likely to benefit as the team already leading both championship tables after four rounds.
“The suggestion is that Red Bull weren't too happy with the hard tyre because I think their car generates quite a lot of lateral-G and it was just chewing the tyre up too much, so I think they prefer a harder tyre,” Hill mused, “So you might see that [the change in hard compound] swings towards Red Bull's favour.
“There are mutterings that that is the case and some of the teams are suggesting that that is not what they want to see and that they quite like the softer tyre. But that is F1."
The Spanish Grand Prix is, traditionally, the race at which teams introduce their first major development upgrade of the season, but Hill doubts that that much will be visible to the untrained eye as tiny changes are pulled together to produce a bigger gain.
“Now [that the teams] are back home in Europe, they are closer to the factory and have a chance to try out some of those modifications and bring them to Spain for the grand prix,” he explained, “We are going to see some fairly big upgrades on the cars when we get to Spain, [but] they will be very, very small little subtle things.
“A large change in the car means a complete redesign, so they are fettling at the moment. You are looking for hundredths or thousandths of a second from the modifications, but they all add up. Some people might make 0.25secs gain and that is a huge amount of time if they can get that. It might not sound like a lot, but then that is per lap - 55 or 60 laps in a race and it all adds up."