This is the second part of the series and once again we have to tell you that this is not a promotional article. In the First Part, We focused on Digital Photography and in this article, We will be focusing on an important subject that significantly lifted the sport in the last couple of years. The Tyres, More specifically...Pirelli
There has been a conflicting opinions regarding the Tyres in Formula 1, Some claimed that they never really played a important role in the yesteryears of Formula 1 and some say they gained more importance in modern era. Rivalries between the Tyre manufacturers was always a great fun, It’s something that we are really missing it in the last few years, The Tyre manufacturers always aided the constructor and it is well known fact that a Car is more or less built around 2 Major points with one of them being the Tyres and the others being suspension.
There has been instances in the past where F1 solely raided on a sole supplier for Tyres, The Years 1987&88, Followed by 1992 to 1996 were the years when Goodyear was the sole supplier of tyres. Then we had Bridgestone who was officially a sole tyre supplier between 2007 to 2010 seasons and also a bit earlier in the 1999 to 2000 seasons.
Lots of Tyre Suppliers participated in F1 and only few of them have established themselves a name. In all, 8 Suppliers were involved in Formula 1, Namely Goodyear, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Pirelli, Michelin, Firestone, Continental and Englebert. We can quite well say that Goodyear stayed in the sport longer then anyone and they had a nice success rate to their name. They have been part of Driver’s Championships 24 times including the 7 times where they have been the sole tyre supplier. Bridgestone comes second with them assisting the drivers to a championship victory of 11 times out of which they remained as a sole supplier for 6 Times. Dunlop is third on the list followed by Pirelli and Michelin.
For most of the Tyre manufactures across the globe, It was seen as a pride to participate in the pinnacle of the Motorsport at some point or other. As associating with Formula one would mean that they can show off their performance while gaining a huge exposure. And few manufacturers during their tenure used this exposure to show the world that their tyres are durable for the race distance and performance of those tyres can never be criticized. In the last decade or so, That was the entire agenda for tyre manufacturers. And this went favorable for those drivers who didn’t have to worry about tyre management and can push their car to their limit. So even if the pit-stops were to happen, In most cases it was just to refuel and a mandatory tyre change
Enter Pirelli, Having emerged as the late contender during the Tyre bids, They won a close battle with Michelin with arguably certain people with dictating terms were against the Italian Manufacturer or we can say that it has been the rumor. Having won the bid, They went straight into the development of creating something new and challenging. They put new terms back on the dictionary. Blistering, Graining, Degradation are some of the terms that were lost in the last decade or so. This ensured that drivers have to respect the tyres and ensure they don’t push beyond the limit. And thus new strategies were forcefully formed and era of unpredictability had started. Into the second year of their return, things started exceedingly well with a normal front running team winning it but as the season progressed, More and more Teams were put on the block and more teams started to challenge for the win. The guys who were aggressive were asked to think again and those who too conservative where forced to be aggressive to get some heat into the tyres. Thus, Tyre Management emerged as a separate skill for the drivers and Teams and both were forced to develop this over the course of the time. Some drivers are still in the wild as they are unable to grab a sweetspot over their tyres and this is severely starting to affect their reputation. And those people who were earlier commenting on how bad the Italian Manufacturer is, they are now showering praises on them for creating something unpredictable.
And we certainly have to say, Pirelli has emerged as a game changer for the sport. Certainly when Bridgestone left the Formula 1, It created a strong impression of being durable and reliable. There were enough questions and doubts that were raised on people’s mind as to whether the Italian Company can withstand to the pressure of what their predecessor had left behind. And just as they took the criticisms that was pouring in, They never changed their strategy and even though their reputation was at stake. A different sort of image has been generated and many people now feel the importance of Tyres as a whole in Formula 1 which is a good sign. This unpredictability has also increased the level of excitement among the public as gone were the days off leaders and mid-fielders, We can say that the probability of a driver starting from as low as 10th on the grid is now having a chance to win the race.
We can truly at this point of time can clearly state that, Pirelli has emerged as one of the key revolutionizer of the sport we love.