New tyres make F1 better: Webber

Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Mark Webber has backed Formula One’s controversial new quick-wearing tyres as the key to an exciting season.

As Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher claims the tyres are turning the championship into “a 1000-piece puzzle that you need to put together at every race”, this year has the potential to become one of the most unpredictable in recent F1 history.

And Webber says drivers should back the changes.

With four races run, four different cars have won, which the Australian Red Bull racer says is proof that the rules deserve driver support.

Most of the teams have been trying to understand the tyres during testing this week at Mugello in Italy, where Pirelli boss Paul Hembery agreed with Webber.

Hembery defended Pirelli’s F1 production model, which he said was based on a request from the teams, led by Schumacher’s Mercedes team boss, Ross Brawn.

“What do we want? One car to disappear into the distance? The public turned away from the sport when that happened, so there was a very clear decision made by the sport to address the racing,” Hembery said.

Several drivers argue that because of the heavy tyre wear, they are unable to push their cars to the limit, but Webber said the public’s interest in the sport was more important.

“Tyres have always been an important part of Formula One,” Webber said.

“Things were probably a little less punishing in the past to get them right, but now you need to be right there and, if you aren’t, it can be quite tricky.

“Everybody has the same stuff to deal with so you have to get on with it. We just drive the cars and do the best job with what we have.”

The dynamics of the new tyres mean the team which best understands them early will have the edge, crucial in a sport where domination by one team in past seasons led to a lack of interest.

“We would all love to have quicker lap times and extremely consistent tyres like we did in the old days, but that wasn’t the most exciting thing for the racing,” Webber said.

“Trying to find somewhere in the middle is always tricky but, at the moment, we have a pretty good show for the crowd. Whether it’s by design or not, it’s turned out like that.”

Webber’s Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel won the last race, the Bahrain GP, following victories by McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, but Vettel said his team was still off the pace.

“Obviously, it is good to win races - that is our target - but nevertheless we know we have a lot of catching up to do,” Vettel said at Mugello.