Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is fuming with Pirelli, accusing the Italian company of supplying tyres that do not befit Formula 1.
The Mercedes driver believes that the tyres are becoming too much of a big deal because of the level of wear and degradation they suffer.
However, Pirelli had been specifically asked to produces tyres to spice up the racing, after taking over from Bridgestone as the sole supplier from Bridgestone in 2011.
Schumacher complained: “Everyone has to drive well below a driver’s and, in particular, the car’s limits to maintain the tyres.”
Talking to reporters in the paddock of the Bahrain International Circuit after Sunday’s race in Sakhir, he added: “I’m not happy about the situation.
“I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance.
“They should last a bit longer, and that you can drive at normal racing car speed and not cruise around like we have a safety car,” he added, pointing out that it wasn’t just one or two cars with the degradation issues but a good 80 per cent of the field who were suffering. “If it was a one-off car issue, you could say it’s up to us to deal with it.”
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s director of motorsport, played down Schumacher’s comments, and said: “The competition has never been closer and part of that is down to the fact that everyone has exactly the same opportunities and challenges with the tyres. It is down to them to make the best of it.
“Formula one has always been a meritocracy – in the end the best engineers and drivers will always succeed.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team