Fresh from his reunion with the F1 champions of past and present (pictured), 1978 Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti has offered his take in the wake of the season-opening Bahrain GP, with the event and the rules shake-up coming under fire from many key figures and fans alike.
In our exclusive interview with Mario – set to be published in the coming days – he believes that the lack of on-track action was primarily down to the performance of the tyres at Bahrain, and described the teams and tyre manufacturers and “victims of their own success”.
“Everyone was very curious as to how the tyre situation was going to play [out] because of the two compounds available. What we expected to happen [there being more pit stops] didn’t happen. I was speaking to several of the engineers, and one in particular, Adrian Newey, and I asked him he had any idea of what to expect. And he said, ‘Absolutely not, we don’t even know if we’re going to do one or two stops yet.’,” he told Richard’s F1.
“What happened was that the Bridgestone tyres were too good. Even the softer tyres performed extremely well, and all the top teams went for one stop. They were able to run a long stint with the soft tyres – long than they expected – and then finished the race on the harder compound with no problems.
“The degradation that was expected just wasn’t there. The track temperature was some around 50deg C – the ambient temperature was almost that high too! The only thing that would have made the race more interesting and unpredictable was if the tyres had not performed the way they did. But they were too good!”
When asked what he would suggest to improve the show and spice up the on-track action, Mario’s answer was simple: get rid of carbon brakes.
“There’s one thing I would change: I would get rid of the carbon brakes,” Mario told us.
“They preclude, in my opinion, some of the potential to pass another car. You’re braking so late that it’s almost impossible to outbrake your competitor. You come along a straight at some 200mph and you can brake at the 50-metre marker. That’s why, whenever there’s a passing opportunity, the competitors come together.
“I don’t see any technical advantage of carbon brakes. It’s not something that’s prevalent in your everyday passenger car, so why even have them? Aircraft have carbon brakes, but so what?
“[Removing carbon brakes] would clear and immediately improve the situation, as far as overtaking is concerned,” he concluded.
And help to cut costs, we would add!
The full exclusive interview with Mario will be published in the lead-up to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix – make sure you visit the site in the coming days!
[Images via AUTOSPORT]