Op Ed: Canada was wacky…Super-soft tires it is!


The Canadian Grand Prix saw lots of tactical decisions based on advanced or aggressive tire degradation and this is being attributed to the excitement of the race. While passing was increased due to the disparity between the prime and option compounds (all teams must run both compounds during a race) it must be said that the degradation was very aggressive due to the characteristic of the track and not by any tire design element from Bridgestone. But that, according to AUTOSPORT (as they have apparently learned), is about to change.

It seems that Bridgestone’s Hirohide Hamashima has decided that if the company can build a safe, aggressive super-soft option tire that doesn’t blister, they will use this combination for the remaining races. The pace disparity between the medium (Prime) and super-soft (Option) compounds was dramatic during the Canadian Grand Prix and this is the apparent situation that Bridestone and F1 management want to see for the remaining races.

I’ve been a opponent of the alternate compound regulation in F1 and believe it artificially creates competitive advantages/disadvantages that just aren’t conducive to the spirit of F1. I’ve been accused of being wrong for that belief but if you have to make a good and not-so-good tire to “spice up” the action, then something else is majorly broken in F1. Confounding the drivers with rapidly degrading tires is not my idea of good racing.

If that is the only way we can improve F1, then why not require the first stint to be ran with an anvil tied to the back of the car that weighs 800lbs? How about forcing the drivers to leave the pits in revers and do a bootlegger turn at pit exit or perhaps we could require them to make one lap on the pit limiter during the race. Maybe a mandatory drive through that would see the driver get out of the car, ring a bell in the teams garage and get back in for the rest of the race. Or the drivers have to pit and swap cars with their teammates once during a race.

You get my point. Creating goofy, artificial elements to F1 is nonsensical. Making a not-so-good tire betrays the essence of what F1 is to me and for many reason I think it’s damned dangerous as well. Hirohide Hamashima says that safety comes first and that’s refreshing but I am a tad surprised that Bridgestone would want to deploy not-so-good tire at all. Who, at Bridgestone, wants to turn the race on and hear commentators repeatedly saying that the tire is graining, degrading and wearing out after just five laps? The consumer says, “damn, that Bridgestone sucks…it only lasts 5 laps”.

For my money, put the best tire on the car that compliments its durability and pace and let the driver race. If it’s passing your want, reduce the rear wing aero and mind the track design here forward. Creating this alternate compound tire tactic is no different than the “competition caution” in NASCAR or letting the Frenchman win a stage in the Tour de France on Bastille day. Give it a break folks, stop the pragmatism and use prudence and logical thinking for a change. Please.

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