Kobayashi: Tire issue is conditional, complicated

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Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi says that the secret to teammate Sergio Perez’s success in Canada is down to a combination of elements that contribute to tire management.  The Japanese drivers says that it is difficult to pin simple tire management as the key to winning in 2012 because it takes a combination of elements to eke out the performance Perez did in Canada. Kamui explained:

“I think in the last race Sergio did a really great job with the tyre management – but I think this season so far, it’s very important to be [in] clear air. If we are in traffic we damage the tyre of course. It’s not only the tyre management, we have to be clear. It’s not only the driving, it’s the situation as well. It’s difficult to say that it’s coming only from the tyre and the driving, it’s all a mixture.

“Let’s say Sergio last race had great driving but he also had quite a lot of time with not so much traffic and that’s the key to managing the tyre. Also last race I think everybody expected in the race to do two-stop but actually one-stop is quicker. But at the same time it seems to be difficult to overtake again because everybody is like a train. So that was mis-predicted for the last race. For my situation I had to change strategy during the race, which is quite difficult. But I think the team did a great job for the performance and they gave us really great advice and we see a good step from the car.”

It is a great explanation of the need for clean air and, for me at least, it could explain some of Kimi Raikkonen’s issues with drifting backward in the second half of a race while typically in traffic and fighting for position. It may not be the explanation that solves the Jenson Button or Michael Schumacher mystery but at first blush, it certainly has played into Sauber’s hands well in 2012.

Does this add more clarity to the tire situation in 2012? The wear-rate of cars in traffic versus clean air? The difficulty to manage tires in changeable conditions based upon where you are running at any given moment? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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