By Adam Cooper, Crain News Service
DETROIT (May 17, 2013) — Not surprisingly, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has expressed his frustration at Pirelli S.p.A.'s decision to change its tires for the Formula One Canadian GP — a move that's likely to harm his team's prospects of maintaining a title challenge for the rest of the season.
Mr. Boullier is adamant that his team has simply done a better job than others of adapting to the original tires in the first few races of 2013, with Kimi Räikkönen having earned a win and three second places.
"There aren't many sports where there are such fundamental changes to an essential ingredient partway through a season," Mr. Boullier 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 tire characteristics. We even ran with some experimental 2013 tires 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 tire. It is frustrating when you've developed a car from a set of tire specifications which are available to everyone—for tires that are the same for everyone—to then be told that they are being changed midseason."
With that said, Mr. Boullier continued that Lotus has "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."
Meanwhile regarding the suspension failure that stopped Romain Grosjean in Spain he said: "It was frustrating for Romain and frustrating for the whole team. A Formula One car is made of so many components, and despite all the checks every once in a while, a failure happens. Our technical team has taken immediate action, identified where the problem was and redesigned a new part for Monaco onwards."
This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.