One of the new rules for 2007 is a single tyre supplier. After a long time supplying the majority of the F1 teams, Michelin bowed out of the sport to allow Bridgestone to be the sole tyre manufacturer. This has meant a lot of teams having many adjustments to make and a lot of testing to do to adjust to the new addition to their cars. It doesn’t appear to have affected any of them too badly though, and they’re all getting ready for the season to start next week.
In an effort to make the sport more visible and for their to be less variables for the fans to get confused about, the FIA have also decided it’s time that teams displayed which tyre they are using at any particular point in the race.
There are two types of tyre for 2007 – a hard compound and a soft compound. During a dry race, each driver will at some point, need to use one of each, and then they can use any variation they like. It will be good to see the guys in the pit lane actually doing something useful, like changing tyres, instead of just checking the sidepods for debris.
So that everyone can distinguish between the two, one compound will have a white tyre wall. This kind of practice has already been popular in other motorsports such as Champ Car but it is the first time it has come to the fore in F1.
Some of the teams argued against the ruling, saying that it would give their rivals an advantage of knowing what setup they were running on. They soon changed their minds though, when they realised that if all the teams can see all the other teams tyres, no one will have an unfair advantage.
Needless to say, it does benefit the fans. In previous years, we have been told what tyre the driver is running on by the commentators or just by simple guesswork. It’s usually a highly guarded secret by the race engineers, and yet another thing they keep quiet so they can feel superior to the rest of us. Now it will be immediately obvious who is running what and make life a lot easier.
It does make you wonder how far they are going to go though, with a uniform tyre for all and a set number of tyres they have to use. Will there be any decisions left to be made by the team?