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GP Week : Issue 42
> F1NEWS> Tyre confrontation avoided FORMULA 1 avoided controversy over the selection of tyre compounds brought to the Grand Prix of China by Bridgestone for this year’s race. With a wider gap in between the two compulsory compounds in use in 2009, some drivers have begun to criticise the difference in grip levels afforded by the rubber amidst allegations that the vast difference in compound provides an artificial element to race strategy. Bridgestone’s decision to bring the super soft compound to China as its option tyre followed its decision to take super soft and hard tyres to the Australian Grand Prix, and led to the vast difference in speed at the end of the race that some commentators have blamed for causing the crash between Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica. Fernando Alonso, for one, was vocal in his disappointment over the tyre issue in China. “I think it is the worst decision they made in a long time, because it is a ridiculous tyre for here, for Shanghai,”he said. “I don’t know if Bridgestone made the decision or the FIA, but they have to reconsider this type of decision because we look ridiculous on television and we look ridiculous for the spectators, and it is a joke to be in front of TV six seconds slower. “We will need to change the tyres after five or six laps, is our calculation, because this track is harder than Melbourne and there we only did eight or nine laps.” Lower-than-expected temperatures in Shanghai, however, meant that Alonso’s fears were not realised, and with Sunday’s race held in the wet the tyre compound issue did not affect the outcome of the race. There are some drivers in the sport who agree with Alonso. Sebastian Bourdais told GPWeek in Malaysia that he did not agree with the idea. “Personally I’m not a big fan of it because I just think it takes a lot of things away from the driver because you can’t control everything and it’s a bit artificial, but definitely for the show it’s a good thing.” Nico Rosberg did not agree. “I think it’s a very good thing for the sport, it makes it very challenging for the teams to get it right,”he told GPWeek. “It’s a big challenge to sort out strategy, what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, because there’s such a variable in it with these tyres. And for the racing it’s great, as we saw in Melbourne. I was a special victim of that, for example, just went backwards. I was just so slow on the softs because they just went away completely, but I’m happy with it, I think it’s good.” While the drivers disagree on its merits, this is one issue we’re likely to hear far more about in the coming races … In Melbourne I was just so slow on the softs because they just went away completely, but I’m happy with it, I think it’s good. Nico Rosberg wants to keep the big gaps in tyre compounds Images used in GPWEEK are shot by the photo-artists at Sutton Images. Posters available of any shot – CLICK HERE for more information 10 Interested in Aussie V8 Supercars? CLICK HERE to access Australasian Motorsport eNews ...