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Tyre changes frustrate Lotus

ESPN Staff
May 16, 2013 « Force India still backs unlucky Sutil | Ferrari slams tyre criticism »
Lotus pulled off a three-stop strategy in Spain to finish second © Getty Images
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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has likened Pirelli's decision to tweak its tyre range for the Canadian Grand Prix to changing the dimensions of a football pitch at half-time to benefit a struggling team.

After Fernando Alonso won the Spanish Grand Prix on a four-stop strategy, Pirelli announced it would alter the construction and compounds of its tyres to attempt to hit its target of two to three pit stops per race. Lotus was one of the teams that was coping best with the original-specification 2013 tyre, and in Spain completed the race distance with three stops to finish second.

Boullier said Pirelli's decision was frustrating and alluded to pressure from Red Bull as one of the reasons for the change.

"There aren't many sports where there are such fundamental changes to an essential ingredient part-way through a season," he said. "Just imagine for a moment that, because a football team can't run as fast as its opponent, the dimensions of the pitch are changed at half time!

"That there are changes to come can be seen as somewhat frustrating, and I hope they are not too extreme. It's clear that Pirelli have found themselves in a difficult situation and under pressure from different quarters.

"Last year, when we were designing our 2013 car, each team received information from Pirelli and everyone did the best job they could to develop a chassis which would make best use of the tyre characteristics. We even ran with some experimental 2013 tyres at the end of last season, to assist us in confirming our development paths.

"As with every season, some teams do a better job than others with their designs, and some drivers are more adaptable than others to the changes of both car and tyre."

Boullier said Lotus had worked hard over the winter to tailor the E21 to the needs of the tyres and that other teams could have done the same.

"It is frustrating when you've developed a car from a set of tyre specifications which are available to everyone - for tyres that are the same for everyone - to then be told that they are being changed mid-season. That said, we have a team of talented designers and engineers who will be working twice as hard to ensure we adapt to these changes in the most competitive manner."