In the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix one of the most exciting aspects of the racing was the tyre degradation. In Canada, it was seen on an entirely different scale to any other track, it proved to be much tougher on tyres and thus made for another dimension in the race, who was going to pit when? And who will benefit most? Learning from this excitement when Pirelli took over they decided that tyre degradation is integral to the excitement of Formula 1 racing and it was there job to provide this. Under a year later as 2011 winter testing got under way it became apparent that Pirelli achieved what they had set out to do; Provide far softer tyres than their predecessors.
Many teams and drivers have mentioned how quickly these tyres disintegrate. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso believes that in some races we could see as many as four pit stops, an opinion echoed by 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton, perhaps suffering the worst from softer tyres, said "The first run – I didn't think I was pushing very hard – and the tyres were finished after nine laps, down to the canvas. On the next run, I had to go easier. It was almost like doing an out lap and just about made it to 15 or 16 on a soft tyre." Maybe the McLaren is tougher on its tyres but even when not pushing going 15 or 16 laps is a massive step down from the Bridgestone soft which in some races could have lasted the entire race, had the rules not outlawed it.
What does this mean for the actual racing? What does this mean for us spectators? Well it is likely that Formula 1 will become less about who can pull off exciting overtakes, sublime quick laps and will become more about who can look after their tyres the most, or who can pit stop the least. In essence, if these tyres degrade as much as some drivers and teams have mentioned, F1 is going to slow way down.
I do not know about you but I am not keen on watching a race where all that matters is looking after your tyres. I want to see raw speed on the tracks not in the pits. Maybe I could deal with 3 stops but when you start to look at 4 or even more then F1 will become boring again. We had such a brilliant season in 2010 let us hope that these new tyres will not bring F1 down to the speed limit.