By Alex Kapadia
Just days before Brazilian Grand Prix, McLaren have been giving their take on the new rules relating to tyres for the 2010 Formula One season.
For a start there will be a refuelling ban, which means drivers will only be able to come in to change their tyres.
And another major factor will be the tyres themselves, according to engineering director Paddy Lowe, who is widely credited for turning the team’s fortunes around.
Talking about the new tyre set-up, Lowe said: “Currently Bridgestone are saying that the tyre will be rated for 200 kilometres. It’s not clear what would happen if you ran it for longer than that.
“The races are obviously 300 kilometres, so there will be some interest in how people choose to deploy different tyres.
“And we shouldn’t rule out the point that the regulations, unlike when we had no refuelling before, do require one tyre change. You’ve got to run option and prime.
“It’s not impossible that the design of the tyres would make it advantageous to change more than that.
“People are assuming it will only be one change, but it could well be that the tyres degrade sufficiently to need more than just one stop, certainly at some races.”
Another development will be the return of fuel-free pit stops, which means drivers will only come in to have their tyres changed.
Asked if the race to do it in the fastest time will lead to extra risk or greater spectacle, Lowe replied: “I think that when we brought in the refuelling in 1993 we lost the spectacle of pit stops as it was.
“The competitive nature of wheel change-only stops, team to team, was very fascinating in those days and we will return to that.
“I’d also say that with Formula One being even more competitive now than in times past, we will see some very impressive change times and great competitiveness amongst the teams.
“It also has a nice human element to it and brings the team of mechanics into play so much more actively in the race result.
“At the moment their job is to not get it wrong – next year their job will be to do it quicker and not get it wrong. I think that will be great.”