Soft and super-soft Pirelli tyres at the Canadian Grand Prix

Polls show fans more concerned about DRS than tyres

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Soft and super-soft Pirelli tyres at the Canadian Grand PrixThe new tyre compounds being used to inject more life into F1 racing have been a source of considerable debate.

Michael Schumacher provoked discussion about the tyres when he described Pirelli’s product as being “like driving on raw eggs” in the build-up to the Spanish Grand Prix.

However others have defended the aggressive compounds, which teams urged Pirelli to introduce when they returned to the sport in 2011.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “If Pirelli make tyres which give drivers and teams a real challenge and add to the spectacle the driver, understandably if he?s had a bad race, will complain about them.

“But on the other hand if they make tyres that are very robust, not challenging in terms of management from either the team or the drivers? perspective, then I?m sure that the spectators will be critical of those tyres because they haven?t created the right spectacle.”

An F1 Fanatic poll of 750 readers revealed little appetite for major change in the current tyres. Over three-quarters of readers preferred to keep the current tyres or make them slightly more conservative.

Almost half of all who responded preferred to leave the tyres as they are while less than 10% wanted to see a significant change in direction with “much more conservative” tyres.

Pirelli intended to test a harder tyre compound at the British Grand Prix weekend, however the inclement weather made that impossible. They now intend to bring their development hard tyre to Hockenheim next weekend.

DRS debate rumbles on

F1 Fanatic readers seem to have greater reservations about the other innovation introduced to improve the racing in 2011: the Drag Reductions System.

In an earlier poll, just 21% of readers supported the current DRS implementation and a majority indicated they wanted the rules to be changed. There were many further complaints about DRS following the Canadian Grand Prix.

During the most recent FOTA Fans Forum at Williams’ headquarters last week, some fans asked the team principals whether they might consider running races without DRS as a test. Ross Brawn replied “it’s up for the fans to tell us what they want to see”.

With that in mind, we’ll shortly run a new poll looking at which races people would like to see DRS used at.

See the results of the previous tyres and DRS polls here:

Which of 2011’s changes to ‘improve the show’ have worked best? Would you like to see changes in how DRS is used or what tyres are supplied? Have they made F1 too artificial? Have your say in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 84 comments on “Polls show fans more concerned about DRS than tyres”

    1. No surprise for me. DRS is simply the fakest thing in the history of any sport I’ve ever watched. Nowadays I consider it a pleasure to watch cars pull off overtaking moves without DRS itself, as the vast majority of drivers will simply wait until the push-to-pass zone to get in front as they aren’t willing nor brave enough to make it stick without the assist of 100 extra BPH.

      Yes, overtaking is difficult in F1 without it, but with DRS it is simply FAR too easy. What really can be done is making the cars less aero-dependend. I much rather have 10 exciting wheel-to-wheel racing overtakes in a race than 100 boring highway-passes. Look at the vast majority of DRS passes, and how one car simply breezes past the other with a top speed advantage of 15 kph. Is that really what we want in F1?

      1. The issue is that before DRS there were barely any wheel to wheel passes in F1. I’ve argued this before but wind the clock back to 2010, the last season of no DRS. Situations like Alonso behind Petrov in Abu Dhabi, Vettel behind Alonso in Hungary, these were clear situations where the faster car could not get past the one in front because corners before any overtaking ‘locations’ on circuits caused the car behind to lose downforce, robbing them of being close enough to pass.

        DRS has fixed that. Despite the calls from many that DRS is fake etc., I cannot think of a single time DRS has caused a ‘fake’ result, that is a result where a slower car passed and then finished in front of a faster car. I’d ask Keith to go back to say 2007, 908, 09, 2010, and look at any polls there were back then on overtaking in F1 and I’d guarantee most F1 fans were complaining about a lack of overtaking. DRS does a lot more than your so-called ‘push to pass’. Webber’s pass on Alonso was partly a result of DRS which allowed him to pull alongside, but the pass itself showed great car control around the outside of the bloke most consider to be the best driver in F1 at the moment. That wasn’t a result of DRS, but DRS allowed the car to be in the position in the first place.

        Make the cars less aero dependant? Absolutely, but how is that going to happen? Get rid of wings altogether? Ban diffusers? Remember Mad Max tried that a few years ago with his proposal for that wierd split wing idea, and look how far that went.

        I’d suggest this then – rather than having a cry about how ‘fake’ F1 now is with DRS, what would all those who dislike DRS do instead that would allow slightly faster cars/drivers to overtake slightly slower ones where there is no massive difference in car performance, i.e. Ferrari vs RBR vs McLaren vs Mercedes vs Lotus (when Mercedes & Lotus have their act together)?

        Thrill me.

        1. Yet this law of physics allows the car behind to gain greater speed down the straight and slipstream the car in front, allowing them to get alongside. DRS was meant to counter the turbulent air effect, it failed miserably.

          You can list all the times in 2010 when a faster car was stuck behind a slower one. Well, it is the faster cars responsibility to actually overtake the slower one, or don’t get stuck behind him to begin with. Do you want me to list all the times DRS has robbed us from having an exciting racing battle?

          Vettel was stuck behind Alonso in Hungary. Alonso was stuck behind Petrov in Abu Dhabi. Notice a small pattern? Both the Hungaroring and Yas Marina are poor circuits for overtaking. So even if cars cannot be made less aero dependent; perhaps we can at least improve the circuits. I can’t think of the last time someone was stuck behind a slower car at Spa-Francorchamps, Interlagos or Montreal without having at least one overtaking opportunity.

          I can’t think of one exciting DRS pass. Do you rather have the four leader cars nose to tail covered by only a few seconds, when you know there are still pit stops to come; or a drivers who’s done a great job to get his car up into places it shouldn’t be, robbed from a deserving result via a highway-ques pass? I much rather have overtaking actually be challenging rather than as easy as it is with DRS.

          You don’t need overtaking to make a race exciting. But on the flip side; can too much fake overtaking can easily ruin an exciting race. I believe Turkey 2011 and Canada 2012 were golden examples of that.

          1. Nick.UK (@)
            13th July 2012, 12:50

            @kingshark How about Webber on Vettel on the penultimate lap in China this year. Stunning. DRS worked there exactly as it was intended, it got two cars alongside each other in the breaking zone but didn’t make an easy pass possible.

            @keithcollantine (reply to you comment below)

            Unfortunately once he caught them DRS completely ruined what might have been a compelling battle.

            DRS had nothing to do with those passes, those tyres were so FUBAR that Lewis was already alongside Alonso and Vettel before they even made it to the DRS activation line. I know you are against DRS and see it as a gimmick, but nobody ever gives it credit when it improves the racing, as it did in China this year. It angers me that I have never heard a single commentator say it is working well. It’s always too easy, or not doing it’s job.

            I still agree with you that maybe with these tyres we should get rid of it, but simply DRS bashing for the sake of it grinds on me.

        2. @clay

          DRS has fixed that.

          You can’t just say “DRS has fixed that” and ignore the enormous role the change in tyres had.

          Take Canada as an example. The teams’ inability to get a clear read on the tyres gave us a thrilling end to the race. We had three-stopping Hamilton closing on two-stopping Alonso and Vettel for the win.

          Unfortunately once he caught them DRS completely ruined what might have been a compelling battle. Despite his worn tyres Alonso was able to hold Hamilton off around some of the lap, but once they reached the DRS zone it was game over. And so it proved for the next three drivers who also passed Alonso.

          Clearly the new tyres and DRS have changed the nature of racing in F1 and in ways more complicated than the one example I’ve just given.

          But given how artificial DRS is, surely you can understand why so many people would like to see the teams switch it off for a while and see if the new tyres alone are sufficient to provide good races?

          1. @keithcollantine surely you mean 2-stopping Hamilton on 1-stopping Alonso/Vettel?

            I’m disappointed in you Keith! I thought you had eidetic memory on everything F1… :P

            /note that this was made tongue in cheek

            1. In my defence I did check to be sure but I was looking at stints rather than stops! So three-stinting versus two-stinting, or two-stopping versus one-stopping.

          2. Unfortunately once he caught them DRS completely ruined what might have been a compelling battle. Despite his worn tyres Alonso was able to hold Hamilton off around some of the lap, but once they reached the DRS zone it was game over. And so it proved for the next three drivers who also passed Alonso.

            I’m sorry, but that’s not what I saw in the closing stages of Canada at all. Alonso lost all those positions because of tyres, not DRS. DRS made the inevitable a lap or two quicker in the case of Hamilton, that’s all. Within two laps of Hamiton coming out, it was obvious he was going to win the race, based on his lap times. Hamilton could have passed Alonso whenever he wanted before the end of the race. He made a choice to do it in the DRS zone because it was the least risky option, not because he couldn’t do it elsewhere. If he had saved his KERS, waited for the team to radio him that Alonso had just used all his (as Webber did in Britain), and then used KERS to do it instead of DRS, would that be less artificial? That’s clever driving. Vettel pitted for tyres, and made up places as a result, Alonso didn’t and kept going backwards.

            The same thing happened to Raikkonen when he went to 14th from 2nd. Tyres, tyres, tyres.

            1. DRS made the inevitable a lap or two quicker in the case of Hamilton, that’s all.

              Perhaps it was inevitable in the case of Hamilton.

              But I don’t think you, I or anyone can say it was inevitable in the case of all four drivers that went past Alonso, that he might not have been able to hold some of them off had they not been able to use DRS.

              As for the Raikkonen example, we know from experience that the rate of tyre drop-off is not constant. After all Alonso’s tyres were going off in the final laps at Valencia as well, but not as severely and some of those behind him were suffering the same to different degrees.

              If he had saved his KERS, waited for the team to radio him that Alonso had just used all his (as Webber did in Britain), and then used KERS to do it instead of DRS, would that be less artificial?

              Yes, because Alonso could also have used his KERS to defend. But Alonso could not use his DRS to defend because the rules forbid it. That’s what makes DRS artificial.

            2. Perhaps it was inevitable in the case of Hamilton.

              But I don’t think you, I or anyone can say it was inevitable in the case of all four drivers that went past Alonso, that he might not have been able to hold some of them off had they not been able to use DRS.

              No, but we can use Vettel as a counterpoint. The cars are not the same, but they pitted for tyres for their expected last stop at around the same time, and their lap times were relatively similar during the race distance.

              Vettel changed his tyres, and recovered positions. Alonso didn’t, and continued to lose out. While we can’t definitively quantify the rate of tyre dropoff compared to Raikkonen, we can easily inference that:
              Drivers behind had the opportunity to catch and pass both Alonso and Vettel.
              DRS, KERS and Tyres will all play a part in those passes.
              The attacking drivers have the same opportunity to use DRS and KERS on both Vettel and Alonso. The only variable between VET and ALO was the capability of their cars, and the state of their tyres.

              Alonso lost out, Vettel changed tyres and lost out less. That indicates Tyres were more of a factor than DRS or KERS. Can we provide numbers? No, but we don’t always need the numbers to show the trends.

            3. Yes, because Alonso could also have used his KERS to defend. But Alonso could not use his DRS to defend because the rules forbid it. That’s what makes DRS artificial.

              How can Alonso defend using KERS when he has no KERS left, due to an entirely artificial restriction in the rules about the use of KERS? The teams could easily run units which carry twice or 3 times the KERS power or capacity (but not both, I would suspect), but are prevented from doing so by an arbitrary rule restriction.

        3. @clay Ground Effect

      2. xeroxpt (@)
        14th July 2012, 16:12

        I got to admit that i was wrong about DRS, i liked DRS last season but DRS ain’t the solution and it really didnt help at all. This year its just ending epic fights and staining great victories like Lewis comeback victory at Montréal, if there wasn’t DRS last weekend i think we were about to watch an epic F1 moment, Webber was going to lose 2 or 3 laps more behind Alonso for sure. Hamiton was always going to win the Canadian GP so useless there.At Valencia the DRS zone seemed to be just right but could have we run without DRS and have a great race, in this case perhaps not as great but good nontheless, and at Silverstone and Canada we might get a better race without DRS, sometimes the DRS and DRS lenght are making dull tracks exciting and great tracks dull. I got a feeling that drivers are trying to overtake outside of the DRS zone just to prove something. At this current moment I think that the FIA could try to unrestrict DRS without worrying about “racing”, they could have a go and then allow everyone to use DRS as they please.

        1. @ukfanatic, I think you misread the Alonso-Webber battle at Silverstone. It was the tyres pure and simple, when Alonso was on the Prime and Webber on the Option, Alonso was faster and pulled out a 20+- second gap, when Webber was on the Prime and Alonso on the option Webber was faster and made up the 20+- seconds, the race was won when both were on the prime and Webber closed on Alonso before Alonso made his last pit-stop, had Ferrari not made a very quick pit-stop it would have all been over then and there.

          1. xeroxpt (@)
            15th July 2012, 22:18

            and you havent watched the race, the lead never got bigger than 5, 6 seconds, secondly DRS only works when the drivers is 1 sec or less behind another and just on an restricted area therefore is only available when trying to overtake, and what happened is that the winning overtake was done with the DRS and if they werent to use it Webber would have to pass elsewhere. Im not going to discuss why they did fight for the lead that useless in this thread.

            1. @ukfanatic, I stand corrected on the time, I should have factored in the pit stops, however principle is the same, both drivers lost time to the other when using the option and gained when using the prime.

          2. xeroxpt (@)
            16th July 2012, 11:22

            yes, i know, and… Did DRS delivered the winning overtake? yes, everybody saw that, could webber have passed elsewhere? I dont know, i think so, it would have been more thrilling. Do we want to see them fight? yes. If we werent using DRS would the race get boring? I dont believe so. that was my point. I wasnt talking about the tyres i’m only concerned with DRS.

    2. I wish more people had voted against the tyres, in a higher proportion than against DRS.

      DRS is defintely un-sporting, but yet it’s like a non-lethal soft tissue injury, the overtaken car could still comeback if it keeps within the 1-sec boundary, or even almost immediately if there are 2 DRS sectors. But the Pirelli tyres are more like a through-and-through bullet wound, beyond any reasonable human efforts of recovery.

      As much as I enjoyed watching Webber win, there’s no denying that Alonso himself never put a foot wrong. For a guy to have performed exceptionally in qualy, and to have displayed good race performance, it was nothing less than gross injustice to have been robbed the race only because his car could not get enough out of the soft tyre – And the irony is that I’ve never particularly like Alonso!

      1. it was nothing less than gross injustice to have been robbed the race only because his car could not get enough out of the soft tyre

        All the drivers had that issue. Everyone who started on the harder tyre faded at the end compared to those who finished on it. Alonso didn’t lose the lead of the race because his tyres didn’t work. He lost the lead of the race because the team made the wrong strategy call.

        1. I disagree. Alonso lost because Webber did better at the start of the race on the soft tyre than Alonso did at the end of the race on the soft tyre.

        2. He lost the lead of the race because the team made the wrong strategy call

          If ferrari couldn’t better RB with soft tyres on a 40-lap rubbered track, with a 4-sec lead, I doubt it could have made half the gain at the start with the softs. Soft was Ferrari’s weak spot, and they knew it …looked like they chose the best strategy and were simply hoping for the ‘expected’ rain in the latter half of the race. Rain didnt happen, but at least the 2nd place happened, ahead of the other RB!
          Take the tyres off the equation but keep the DRS in, and I’m willing to bet that you would have chosen to shower sympathy on Alonso( if overtaken under DRS ), than blaming the strategy :-) See! this is what 2012 tyres are doing to drivers!

      2. @f1lunatic

        there’s no denying that Alonso himself never put a foot wrong. For a guy to have performed exceptionally in qualy, and to have displayed good race performance, it was nothing less than gross injustice to have been robbed the race only because his car could not get enough out of the soft tyre

        Didn’t Webber also have to run the soft tyre? And didn’t Webber do a good job with it?

        1. Are you saying Alonso didnt? Surely, he is not worse than Webber in tyre management. Yet, between the two guys who are not known to be aggressive-on-tyres drivers, one managed to usurp the other, not because of aero, nor cornering nor other technical ability, but bcoz his car proved to better on softs than the other’s, notwithstanding the 110% effort.

          In DRS case, at least the driver overtaken can sit back and know that spectators/fans/team couldn’t have missed the ‘obvious’ speed difference on the straight(s)……but in case of tyres, his reputation is taken to tatters, as has mildly started now and will surely pick up pace, this is one tyre that wont lose it’s potency any time soon!

      3. As much as I enjoyed watching Webber win, there’s no denying that Alonso himself never put a foot wrong. For a guy to have performed exceptionally in qualy, and to have displayed good race performance, it was nothing less than gross injustice to have been robbed the race only because his car could not get enough out of the soft tyre – And the irony is that I’ve never particularly like Alonso!

        That’s the the whole point of fans voting against DRS. Imagine the fight we would’ve seen if there had been no DRS at Silverstone. Alonso surely would’ve kept Webber at bay for a few more laps. It was visible that his tyres improved after two or three laps. What might have been…

        1. s. It was visible that his tyres improved after two or three laps.

          Doubt it. Simply Webber taking it easy after overtaking Alonso.

          Alonso surely would’ve kept Webber at bay for a few more laps

          Doubt this too! Remember Canada, a sitting duck!

      4. dysthanasiac (@)
        13th July 2012, 9:50

        I wish more people had voted against the tyres, in a higher proportion than against DRS.

        Don’t worry. The margin of error for these types of polls is astronomical.

        1. @dysthanasiac Enlighten us.

          1. dysthanasiac (@)
            13th July 2012, 13:58

            @keithcollantine

            The probability that a fan would even answer the question in the first place is virtually nil. (0.0000014150943 if we assume F1 has about 530,000,000 fans.) That fact alone makes any results statistically meaningless.

            Based on the numbers, the headline would be much more accurate even if it read, “No one watches Formula One.”

            1. Where did you study statistics!?

            2. dysthanasiac (@)
              13th July 2012, 14:26

              @dvc

              At an institution where 750 (responses)/530,000,000 (the estimated viewership of F1 in 2010) is a loosely reasonable probability that the question would be answered by an F1 fan and where the margin of error for the results is virtually incalculable due to non-sample error (self-selection bias). Given site statistics, that probability could easily be calculated much more accurately, but it wouldn’t change the non-sample error of the result.

    3. It’s obvious that most of the exciting racing this season is due to the tyres, DRS has just allowed cars that were marginally faster a chance to get past. Saying that, it’s good to see cars set up or more suited to corners not able to make it past even with the DRS, due to them sacrificing straight line speed for cornering ability. I think that by next year, the DRS zones can be optimized so that the following car can only gain a small advantage and cannot depend on DRS to make the pass happen. We’ve seen that at a few races already, but with a little tweaking the other tracks will be the same.

    4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      13th July 2012, 10:02

      Ugh. Here we go again.

      Time for another meaningless argument, where nothing will change in F1 and no one will change their already made up minds.
      What’s the point. Nothing that is discussed on this forum will even reach the ears of anyone important in Formula 1. So nothing’s going to change. Just suck it up. And if you dont like the way it is, then just dont watch it.

      1. It was clear from the FOTA Fans Forum last week that teams are prepared to listen to fans’ views on the matter and have done previously. I see no harm in contributing to that debate and trying to make it as informed as possible.

        One might just as easily say if you don’t believe in the validity of a debate, why bother commenting on it?

      2. Shall we change the topic then shall we?
        Hmm, seeing as there’s no point commenting about anything, what does that leave us?

        It’s raining where I am, what about you?

        1. @nackavich
          Why should we discuss the weather? God, or whoever is taking a wee on you aren’t going to stop just because you write it on F1F.
          Lets just stop talking all together. Its not going to change anything anyway.

          1. @mads I was referring to those who don’t see the point in discussing certain parts of the sport that probably won’t change in the near future. This whole article is a response to the Fans thoughts on tyres and DRS and Keith stated that the teams are taking the fan’s views into consideration. Some people think there’s no point us fans voicing an opinion and just “sucking it up” but the teams are starting to listen to us.
            Plus there’s no harm in discussion.

            1. @nackavich
              I know I know, and I absolutely agree with your point, it was meant in a tongue in cheek kind of way in relation to Chris’ post. Sorry for the confusion : )

            2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              13th July 2012, 11:59

              oh don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the discussion. I just dont see the FIA changing the implementation of DRS because of people on the Internet, anytime soon.

              But you never know. The rules of F1 change all the time. So who knows.

            3. @mads Haha as was mine – We need a sarcasm font!

            4. @nackavich
              Jesus! I think we do need that quite badly! This ain’t going too well : D

      3. Nick.UK (@)
        13th July 2012, 12:40

        @tophercheese21 Paul Hemberey did an interview with Kieth after having read an article he did about how the rules needed changing not the tyres. So… yes, important people in F1 do hear about things reported on this site.

    5. when DRS was first introduced it was supposed to give a car an opportunity to overtake not let it sail by halfway along the straight. Some of the DRS zones make it far too easy such as malaysia china and canada to name a few.

    6. With that in mind, we’ll shortly run a new poll looking at which races people would like to see DRS used at.

      I suppose the true test of binning DRS would be to see if F1Fanatics would still enjoy, to the same extent, races on circuits where it’s difficult to overtake, like the Hungaroring, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi, especially given the number of comments, in the rate the race article, on how “boring” the British Grand Prix was. Personally, I didn’t find the last race boring at all, and I think the Pirelli tyres will ensure interesting races on all types of tracks.

      Having said that, I think Monaco showed that the racing can get more processional in case there is no real threat of being overtaken; Webber just had to ensure he got good exits for the two straights, and for the rest of the laps the guys behind him could make their own arrangements (in the Aussie’s own words), with him driving around relatively slowly to make the tyres last.

    7. To be perfectly honest, the fans got what they wanted; races now have overtaking.
      Some people re never completely satisfied; sometimes, they complain there’s no overtaking, and now there’s too much overtaking.
      make up your minds, please!!!!

      1. Maybe someone should’ve told the fans to be careful what they wish for!

        If you wish for more overtaking and spectacular racing, you probably desire that the teams solve the underlying poroblems, instead of Bernie’s sprinklers or shortcuts!

    8. I think that it depends on the DRS zone. In the last couple of races they were very well placed, in my opinion. In Valencia everyone arrived wheel to wheel in the braking zone, and we saw great battles (Grosjean on Hamilton, Raikkonen on Maldonado and so on). At Silverstone we saw some easy passes on the DRS zone, but also good wheel to wheel battles (Webber on Alonso). Besides, there were a lot of passes in different areas of the circuit (Copse, Stowe, Vale and even Maggots). If the DRS was in the Hangar straight, for example, it would have ruined the race. And the good thing was that some cars couldn’t pass in the DRS zone, so they had to risk and pass somewhere else.

      Obviously, if they get the DRS zone completely wrong, the racing becomes terrible. But I think (and hope!) that they won’t do the same mistakes again.

      1. Drop Valencia!
        13th July 2012, 10:56

        I like DRS but think it would be much better if it was active, say in a 10m zone, behind any car, rather than in arbitrary zones.

        1. Well, that is a much better solution than what we currently have..

    9. Another idea; to slightly amend this argument, just make the slot smaller; at the moment, it’s at 50mm, and if you make it 40 or even 35mm, then that would decrease the advantage gained by the car behind.
      Alternatively, give the drivers say 50 DRS uses per weekend, and they can then use it 50 times, wherever they want during that weekend, just like in A1 GP (yes, it’s defunct), where they had the boosts per race.

      1. F1 Lunatic (@f1lunatic)