This season’s Formula One racing is less exciting, so claims Mark Webber, who has had a yet another not-so-subtle dig at Pirelli, which has come under intense criticism for producing extremely high-wearing tyre compounds.
While some teams – like Lotus and Force India – have loved the 2013-spec tyres, others have been openly critical, even going so far as to declare them unsafe, particularly given a spate of punctures suffered by some runners.
The Australian ace has said, with so many teams having to look after their tyres, it’s taken away the thrill of wheel-to-wheel racing. One example of this, was at the Chinese Grand Prix where Sebastian Vettel was told “not to race” Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso because Red Bull Racing wanted him to preserve his tyre life on that stint.
“I think as a group, especially for the guys north of 100 Grands Prix, we’ve seen a different make-up of how Grands Prix are run these days,” said Webber, when speaking to AUTOSPORT.
“It’s in our skill set to have to deal with some of these challenges, as we always have, whether its V10s, V8s, refuelling, one-lap qualifying; Q1, Q2, Q3.
“I’ve seen most of the scenarios we’ve had to play with, and it is important for a driver to deal with them.
“But you saw in Monaco I started to look after my first set of tyres when we got to Turn 3! And we could see Nico [Rosberg] doing that as well.
“[Tthe racing] is different. Monaco was quite an extreme case for that in terms of pace, as I think it around GP2 pace, and that’s getting quite extreme, you’d say.
“It is also very strategic from the pit wall, as in this is where the tyres are, this is what we’re capable of doing, can you please get us there?”
Webber added that there are only certain times during a race were a driver can push to the limit, but that is mainly at the very end of the race.
“You see drivers racing like Lewis [Hamilton] and I did with three or four laps to go in Bahrain,” he said. “We wouldn’t race like that on lap seven, because you’re just cutting your own wrists – killing the tyres and your stint range.
“But when you’ve got three or four laps to go, you try and finish in what position you can.
“It is a really different type of racing, no doubt about it. You still have some nice moments in the car but it’s hard to put your finger on the satisfaction side of things now. It’s just different.”
However, despite not liking the racing personally, Webber has still agreed that the fight for the front and the wins are still, just as important. This is evidenced by the tight competition between Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and more recently, Mercedes.
“To be successful and win at this level, they’re not going to hand results out,” he said.
“You’re going to have to beat some decent operators, and that’s always been the case in F1.
“You have to beat other teams as well, not just the drivers. That’s a hugely satisfying part of the job. You know that when you’re on the top step of the podium, generally it’s a very proud moment.”