All this year’s title contenders know after four ‘flyaway’ races in 2012 is that they do not know what will happen in Spain next month.
“The only certainty is uncertainty,” read the German headline at Netzeitung.
With F1 generally regarded in the wider world as a sport with predictable results, this is an entirely new situation.
“The statistics show that it’s been nine years since there have been four different winners in the first four races,” said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Indeed, the famous Italian team as well as McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull have won the opening races of 2012, and also with potentially winning pace have been Lotus and Sauber.
“More than that,” continued Domenicali, “you have to go back 29 years to find the last time four different cars won.”
One explanation is that F1 has never been more competitive, with plenty of well-oiled teams and no fewer than six world champion drivers on the grid. But Domenicali thinks Pirelli is the dominant factor. And not everybody is happy about that. Michael Schumacher told Bild newspaper that this year’s tyres degrade so fast that rubber “flies from the rim” if he pushes too hard in a corner.
“We drive around like the safety car. It is not a satisfying situation,” the seven time world champion said.
Pirelli’s motor sport director Paul Hembery is unimpressed with the rebuke, insisting that the Italian marque is only trying to “make tyres that make the races exciting”.
“We cannot take individual drivers into consideration,” the Briton insisted. “It would be dead easy for us to make tyres that don’t break down. Then the top ten would also be the top ten in the race. But no one wants to see boring processions,” Hembery claimed.
Agreed the Swiss headline at Blick: “Pirelli is sweeping away the boredom”.
Indeed, not even the other Mercedes driver, Shanghai winner Nico Rosberg, agrees with Schumacher.
“It’s total chaos. You don’t know who is going to be fast at the next track,” he is quoted by DPA agency. “Formula One has become almost unlike any other sport. Yes, you cannot drive any laps any more at full throttle. Often, it’s like driving on ice. But that’s a big and an interesting challenge,” said the German.
Undoubtedly exciting for the fans, but the teams are having to adapt quickly. Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport said on Sunday that Vettel’s victory could mean Red Bull resumes its dominant grip on F1.
Dr Helmut Marko doesn’t think so. “We don’t even know who our opponents are!” he exclaimed.