Eric Boullier frustrated by Pirelli tire change

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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has revealed his frustration over Pirelli’s proposed changes to their 2013 tire compounds.

The Italian tire supplier has come under fire in recent races for not making the available compounds durable enough, forcing drivers to be careful not to push too hard, and the high rate of wear caused a four-stop race in Spain last weekend. Subsequently, Pirelli has confirmed that they will be making changes to the tires for the Canadian Grand Prix next month, and Boullier has made no secret of his annoyance over this decision.

“It’s clear that Pirelli have found themselves in a difficult situation and under pressure from different quarters,” Boullier said on the team website.

“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 mid-season.

Lotus has worked well with the new tires, with Kimi Raikkonen managing to make one stop less than his rivals in the Australian Grand Prix en route to the race win. This strategy also saw him finish P2 at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, despite Pirelli making the change, Boullier is confident that Lotus can still exercise their advantage on the tires.

“We have 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.”

The change has been forced after many of the teams protested that the new tires were not allowing their drivers to race at their optimum pace. Pirelli’s F1 chief Paul Hembery initially refused to bow under the pressure, but he admitted last weekend that four stops in one race was too many. Therefore, we can expect to see a less aggressive tire to be brought to the race in Montreal which may work against Lotus, yet Boullier’s confidence suggests that the team will not be harmed by the change.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.