• Tyre news

New tyres only worked for Red Bull and McLaren - Massa

ESPNF1 Staff
May 24, 2011 « Costa steps down as Ferrari technical director | »
Felipe Massa struggled all weekend on the hard tyres © Sutton Images
Related Links

Felipe Massa reckons Red Bull and McLaren were the only teams capable of getting the new hard tyres to work properly at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Pirelli brought an updated version of its hard tyre to Spain with the aim of prolonging its life and mixing up strategy. On the whole it appeared to succeed, but some drivers experienced an unwanted side-effect as they struggled to get the new compound up to temperature.

Tyre temperature is largely dictated by the load a driver can put through the tyre, meaning cars with more downforce tend to warm up their tyres more quickly. Massa thinks only Red Bull and McLaren had a car capable of getting the most from the new compound in Spain.

"Once I fitted the hard tyres, it was almost impossible to drive the car," he wrote in his official blog. "I ended up losing all the places I had gained, then I had a spin and eventually with a few laps to go, I had to park the car at the side of the track as I could not select any gears. Meanwhile Fernando [Alonso, Massa's team-mate] went from leading the race to being one lap down within the space of about 40 laps which is an unbelievable situation. I would say that in Spain, it looked as though Red Bull and McLaren were the only teams able to exploit the hard tyres properly."

The hard tyres will not be used again until the British Grand Prix as Pirelli has opted to bring softer compounds to the next three races. Massa is hoping the change in rubber will result in a change of form.

"Starting with free practice this Thursday at Monaco, we begin a run of three Grands Prix using Pirelli's Soft and Super Soft and that should work better for us," he said. "They will definitely suit the characteristics of our car which is a positive factor."

And he reckons the tyres will also play a role in improving the show at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

"When a car in front of you is struggling with worn tyres, it will have very poor traction and even in places such as the exit to the chicane after the tunnel, if you don't have traction, you will lose position before Tabac. I believe degradation will play a significant role on this track."