Ever since Michael Schumacher attacked the Pirelli rubber in the wake of the Bahrain Grand Prix, tyres have been the hottest of Formula 1 topics. While not exactly a new phenomenon - ever since Pirelli came in at the start of 2011, tyre management has been one of the keys to success - the seven-times world champion's claim that drivers have had to "cruise around like we have a safety car" has become a major talking point.
So, in the context of what we will see in this weekend's Spanish Grand, does Schumacher's position hold water? The premise of his argument is that the tyres are the ultimate limiting factor that dictates pretty much everything.
"The main thing I feel unhappy about is that everyone has to drive well below a driver's, and in particular, the car's limits to maintain the tyres," said Schumacher after the Bahrain GP. "I just question whether the tyres should play such a big importance, or whether they should last a bit longer."
This year's GPs have featured two or three pitstops per car © XPB
So far this season, races have mostly been a choice of either two or three stops. As Pirelli has repeatedly stated over the past two years, this is exactly what the sport asked the Italian company to deliver. But the whys and wherefores of how F1 got into this situation is irrelevant. What really matters is whether, as some claim, it has turned grand prix racing into a lottery.
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