‘2012 tyre lottery’ is not a term one would hear seriously deployed this season within the garages of traditional midfield teams including Sauber, Lotus and Williams.
Until now, as an unprecedented seven different winners scooped the honours at the opening seven grands prix of the year, top teams including McLaren and Red Bull have referred constantly to the tiny ‘window’ of operation of Pirelli’s 2012 tyres. But “The window for the tyres has not become smaller,” Sauber’s technical director Matt Morris is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport as insisting.
“No, it’s the cars’ (operating window that has changed),” he argued.
His boss Peter Sauber said the top teams “underestimated” the cost of losing the advantage their blown diffuser and flexible front wings had previously given. Indeed, even Dr Helmut Marko, energy drink Red Bull’s motor sport consultant, had to admit all the talk about the tyres has been overstated.
“Sauber seems to understand them (the tyres) — and almost all of the time,” said the plain-speaking Austrian.
Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery agrees it is not true that the top teams don’t “understand” the tyres. He said it’s just a matter of balance.
“He is probably spot on,” said German journalist Michael Schmidt. “Lotus, Sauber and Williams are not shining because of a special trick, but because of well balanced aerodynamics.”