Bruno Senna reckons tyre wear could be even more critical this coming season
New Sky F1 pundit reckons technical shake-up will have an effect
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 06/03/14 1:03pm
Speaking on Thursday after being announced as a member of the Sky Sports F1 team at seven races this coming season, the former Williams, Lotus-Renault and HRT driver predicted the increased torque provided by the new hybrid power units could prove challenging.
"The torque at the low end is really making the tyres struggle even more than they were last year, especially because the cars now have less downforce," Senna told Sky Sports News.
"They've been driving on circuits like Jerez, which is hard on the rear tyres, as well as Bahrain, which is lots of stop and go. They've been working really hard at making the driveability of the car better, so there's lots of tuning work to be done in the cars and there's no tricks like last year and the previous year with the blown diffuser to make traction better.
"It's going to be a lot of work for the drivers, especially making the tyres last the whole race."
The Brazilian's comments echo those made by countryman Felipe Massa in Bahrain last week.
Massa set the fastest time of the third and final test but ahead of next week's season-opener in Melbourne, the Williams driver said he expected things would improve eventually.
"Degradation is not low. At so many races, we're going to see similar pit stops to last year in my opinion," he said. "But during the season, you always improve the car; things get better and better, so we're still at the beginning.
"When we saw the winter test last year, the degradation was pretty scary and things were getting better through the season as well. There's still a lot to do and a lot to understand."
Pirelli, who have designed a new range of tyres in response to the demands created by the new V6 turbo power units, maintain they have "similar performance to last year but with less degradation".
In a statement released at the weekend, the Italian company said: "There was no blistering and very little graining, underlining the performance of the latest compounds so far in a wide range of conditions. There was also a reduction in tread wear levels."