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.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool