Schumacher clarifies tyre stance
Michael Schumacher has clarified his recent comments about the Pirelli tyres, saying he's happy to have started a debate but adding that he does not expect to have a greater influence than any other driver on the way the tyres are developed.
Due to the way in which this year's tyres degrade, Schumacher recently said: "We drive like we're on raw eggs and don't want to stress the tyres". But he insists it was not so much a criticism of the tyres as an observation and that his comments were not born out of frustration with his tenth place finish at the last race in Bahrain.
"Obviously we have touched on something that you guys [the media] have kept on talking about," he said. "That's the principal of how Formula One should be and I'm quite happy that we have initiated a discussion on how much influence one or another part should have in Formula One. I stated myself that one part has too much of it and it should be a little more equalised for everybody and for the majority rather than a single minority group.
"It's certainly nothing to do with being frustrated because I haven't really been frustrated and I did a good race coming from 22nd to tenth, which I think was a positive result and all the rest that came before were out of control."
He said he met with Pirelli at the recent Mugello test, but that he does not expect to have more of an influence on the tyres than anyone else.
"It's nothing to me, it's a general discussion that I wanted clearly to start to happen and it's not only up to me to decide what direction we want to go," he said. "Certainly I'm very happy to develop things together with our partners, Pirelli being a very important partner, and we had a good meeting in Mugello to talk about this subject and hopefully we will continue to go in the right direction."
But McLaren's Jenson Button said the teams and drivers should be working to suit their cars to the tyres rather than the other way around.
"I think if you asked the fans, they'd say that it's perfect," Button said. "It's a tricky one. Unless you're winning every race it's very difficult to complain about the tyres because somebody is making them work. It is definitely more complicated this season, last season you could work with the tyres and they degraded but you could understand the tyres and work with it or drive around it. But now it's difficult to understand - some people are making it work, so you can't really point the finger at Pirelli and say it's their fault."
Mark Webber was also wary about making any changes as the races have offered plenty of excitement since Pirelli came into the sport last year.
"I think all racing drivers want to push and we know those days finished [at the start of] last year. Irrespective, if you win the race or finish tenth or last then we know the philosophy has changed in the last few years. But who are we trying to entertain? It's the people. The races have been quite good to watch, the engineers and drivers have had a challenge finding the balance between going on the limit and getting the car home as fast as possible. It's never been more evident than it is now."