By Alex Kapadia
Lewis Hamilton predicts that Pirelli’s new Formula One tyres will slow the action on the track down.
The McLaren racer also suspects that the new tyres, which have been criticised for degrading too quickly, will be tough on drivers.
The former world champion, who will join four other title holders on the grid when the new season gets under way in Melbourne later this month, said: “”The cars are slower on a race distance. Last year we had to make tyres last with heavier fuel load and now it’s even slower. I did run the other day and it was painfully slow, it really was. Just not exciting, to be honest.
“The first run – I didn’t think I was pushing very hard – and the tyres were finished after nine laps, down to the canvas. On the next run, I had to go easier. It was almost like doing an out lap and just about made it to 15 or 16 on a soft tyre.”
The teams are preparing for their final testing sessions in Barcelona and learning to adapt to the new, fast-wearing tyres, which are likely to result in more pit-stops and more changes in the running order.
Hamilton added: “Over the years you have to change your style and adapt, while keeping the important part, which is the speed and aggression. Now the biggest step is how we are going to have to look after the tyres.
“You’ll see it’s going to be just as competitive this year, if not more. The regs are bringing the teams closer, making it more competitive, but not as hard-core competitive. In 2007 and 2008, the teams were so quick and pushing each other so fast at the front. They’ve now slowed down the cars a little, it’s maybe a more even playing field.”