The former Pirelli test driver Pedro de la Rosa is of view that the drivers’ role has enhanced in managing tyre use and tactic in their struggles to win races.
The 2011 Pirelli rubber is expected to be a major ingredient which will flavor the performance of teams in the season opening in Melbourne. De la Rosa has pointed out that the responsibility of deciding on the right strategy has shifted from the teams and
on to the men in the arena.
The Spanish driver believes that now drivers will have to be more considerate about managing the tyres, the reason being that drivers get to know of the tyre degradation sooner than the team sees the loss in lap time. So drivers now would play their part
to determine when the tyres are thumping to a halt. If a driver renounces the decision for a lap or two he will lose about six seconds.
The drivers will need to realize when the tyres go off to avoid a drop-off during their stints. The decision about tyres will now be more dependent on drivers than on the teams. According to him the tyres have a linear degradation until all of a sudden they
just drift off.
He also believes it will create interest as it will not just be a matter of engineers looking at a screen to pit in the drivers.
The 40-year-old has recently been selected as the reserve and test driver for McLaren for the 2011 Formula 1 season. He is of the opinion the new Pirelli tyres would be exhilarating for those watching the sport but are likely to be a nuisance for the drivers.
The Spanish driver said, “It is difficult to predict exactly how many stops we will have. You can say roughly that it will be around three, and that is fantastic. I remember last year that on a Thursday you already knew, no matter what the tyre compound
was or which circuit it was, whether it was going to be a one-stop strategy with the window opening between lap 12 or 18. That would then be the end of the story.”
De la Rosa is of the view that the tyres will keep the drivers engaged and it will be more thrilling for the fans. He said that the race talks have been about degradation, linear degradation and non-linear degradation, but should focus instead on the fans.
He suggested that everyone wait till the season opening at Albert Park and let the initial races decide the fate after the views from the fans for the sport. Pirelli and the F1 teams can then make the subsequent decisions.