People like to say that the recent era in Formula One is just about technology but that is not true! This era is as much about experience and guts as it is about technology! According to Mclaren sporting director Sam Michael,"Formula 1's high degrading tyres have turned the sport into a thinking man's game".
A lot of laymen who watch Formula One presume that since it is such an expensive sport and involves such a large team of experts, the driver’s role has become less important. While times have definitely changed from when Juan Manuel Fangio ruled the race track, the pressure on drivers is still immense.
Considering Pirelli decided to go with more aggressive rubber compounds this season, expertise in tyre management has become even more important. The best example of this is the Chinese Grand Prix where the top five spots were bagged by former world champions who have a wealth of experience- Fernando Alonso, KimiRaikonnen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.
“The top ten guys are all very fast in terms of talent, but what separates them is their experience and ability to cope with different situations,” said Sam Michael after the race at Shanghai. “The high degradation experienced, with the soft compound being effectively nothing more than qualifying rubber, meant drivers had to race wisely to ensure they kept their tyres in the right shape for the best strategy,” he added.
Formula One is truly a team game but at the end of the day there is only one driver at the wheel and when the finish line is in sight, it is his expertise and brain power besides the strategy of the team principal that is the deciding factor when it comes to winning races. So what about the fresher faces then? Well, if they have an experienced team-mate then that is a huge asset as they can learn the ropes from their more seasoned counter-parts.