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Whitmarsh defends Pirelli degradation

ESPNF1 Staff
March 4, 2011 « HRT still waits on 2011 car | »
Tyre degradation has been high at the pre-season tests © Sutton Images

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has leapt to the defence of Pirelli amid widespread criticism of the 2011 tyres.

The high degradation compared to last year's Bridgestones has attracted the attention of several drivers, but Whitmarsh insists the drop off in performance is exactly what the sport needs.

"The wear can only be high because the grip when new is high. The drivers and teams should perhaps be more careful in their expressions," Dutch website f1today.nl quoted him as saying. "It's easy to step into the car and complain, but we want more pit stops and we want cars that at various stages of the race are fighting with their tyres. That's part of the show."

As the head of the Formula One Teams Association [FOTA] he said Pirelli had been asked to provide a more aggressive tyre than its predecessor and that the teams had no grounds on which to complain.

"Bridgestone were always a great partner, but from my position at FOTA I have heard several times in recent years pressure for tyres with more risk," he added. "But now we publicly criticise the degradation of these tyres. The job of tyre supplier is a thankless one, as the higher wear is a feature that was requested to make the show better."