Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen feels the need to look after the tyres has not really changed the nature of racing from when he started out in the sport over ten years ago, even as several drivers complain about not being able to push on the fast-fading rubber.
In recent years, racing in Formula One has been dominated by the need to manage tyres in contrast to when Raikkonen made his debut at a time when refueling was allowed and races were a series of flat-out sprints between pitstops.
In 2011 Pirelli replaced Bridgestone as the sport’s sole tyre supplier and introduced short-life tyres that were intended to spice up the show and create more overtaking.
However, the Italian firm’s tyres have been criticized for degrading too fast with drivers having to drive well within the limit of their cars in order to make the rubber last over a stint.
“(In the past) you were able to go fast but then you do more stops, you do shorter runs with less fuel. So in those years if you put fifty kilos more fuel you have to look after the tyres so it hasn’t really changed,” Raikkonen told reporters in the Sakhir paddock.
“Obviously, we are never happy, never 100 percent happy with our cars, or driving or tyres, so there’s always things to complain.”
“You cannot please everybody so for Pirelli it’s not an easy job because whatever they do there will be teams and drivers and people who will not be happy so you’ll never make everybody happy. I think it’s up to us to make the best of it,” the 2007 world champion said.
Raikkonen has notched up some strong results since returning to the sport in 2012, including a string of podiums and a win in the first year of his comeback, with the car’s ability to be gentle on its tyres one of the key reasons for the team’s strong form.
Heading into this weekend’s race in Bahrain, the Finn is very much in title contention having won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and sits just three points off the top of the standings behind Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
But Raikkonen, who finished second in Bahrain last year, is yet to win in the island kingdom.
“We will see how it goes. I have no idea. We might be good, we might not be good. Until we run tomorrow we don’t really know so it’s much easier to tell those things after the testing.”
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