Now we know why Massa has to give way to Alonso…

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Does F1 really need tyre choice restrictions?

In a nutshell, no it does not, and here's why…

First off, the disparity between the choices available to drivers in the first 10 grids slots and the rest.  Well they have no choice – they have to race what they qualified on (unless it's wet).

This is a very crude attempt at "spicing up the show" but is little better than reversed grids, for which there would be deserved outcry from fans, teams and drivers alike.  It's very artificial and really not needed, especially if drivers could actually choose their tyres themselves (see later).  At least when drivers had to qualify on race fuel, they all had the same freedom to either choose low tanks or their preferred weight of fuel.  Deliberately handicapping the faster cars is something F1 should not be doing.  What next, success ballast?

Second we have the requirement to use both types of tyres (unless it's wet).  With 4 compounds available, Pirelli only bring two to the race, instantly cutting choice by 50%.  Then the drivers who make it into Q3 know they pretty much need to use the soft/option tyres to avoid starting 10th. 

This virtually guarantees the race strategy for the first 10 cars.  Last year it was start on softs, switch to hards.  This year with the fast wearing Pirellis (on request of the FIA it has to be said), it's now start on softs, put on more softs, change to hards.

With everyone doing the same thing it's hardly surprising there's no big variations in speed between cars during the race and few position changes. There's just no room to manoevre.  If they could choose any tyres at any point in the weekend we might have some bigger differences between the cars during the race. 

Finally, if these tyre choice restrictions were lifted, and if Pirelli brought all their tyres to a race weekend (not just 2 sets) we might get some far out strategies such as someone trying to do a no-stop race (Perez we're looking at you!) and racing against someone doing 3 stops and using the super softs.  That would be pretty exciting but alas the rules prevent it.

To see how such a race might play out, take a look either at the 1990 French Grand Prix , the 1990 German Grand Prix or the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix below, all of which were pretty exciting in my view.

So really what are the current tyre rules giving us?  Predictable strategy, artificial racing and they make Pirelli look bad (unless it's wet). It's time to change the rules!