Wow, I never realised that there was such a marked difference between the two suppliers! The Pirelli's being between 25% and 40% less effective is astounding!
The inter rate is not too much of a surprise if i'm honest, it just confirmed my thinking. I remember Button once using the Inters (whilst most others were on full wets) before the track dried and he took advantage of their softer nature and used them as set of slicks! They were a truly incredible and durable breed of tyre!
Maybe Pirelli do need to take a bit of time on their R&D for these two tyres (although understandably organising a tyre test in guaranteed rain is impossible!) as I know they didn't alter the compounds for this year as they did with the slicks (changed to different colour side-walls is all). Being completely different from previous suppliers is fine to a certain extent, but surely taking a leaf out of their experiences with what did and didn't work couldn't hurt?
That was Hungary 2006, Button switched 4 laps earlier, lost 4 places on the first out lap, then another 2 places on the next 2, then he switched them on and started to make those places back and whilst the rest were on the wets for another 2 laps, he managed to make it to second, then Alonso had his wheel issue, and then went on to win for Honda, their only win.
It was the only time that Michelin won with the Inters over the Bridgestone guys as they spent nearly €12.5m in R&D costs to get those tyres up to almost Bridgestone spec, but were still a tenth off in raw pace of the Bridgestone inters in the hands of Alonso or Kimi then. Just 1 week later they announced their pull out.
Developing wet weather tyres for F1 is costly, as you just have to wait arround for a wet track or go to a track that has a simulated wet track system like Paul Ricard, and hope there isnt a hosepipe ban, or the track has its own supply from a lake. I hear that Austin is to have this installed as they will have their own lake, and Pirelli are looking to use it once its installed after this years USA GP.
Pirelli are looking to develop their wet tyres, however they need to get a compound that is easy enough for most drivers and cars to switch on, however a compound that can last a massive distance. Wets should last up to 250-300Kms and Inters should last 185-215km, but arnt somehow.
Pirelli need to spend some time and money on their wet weather tyres as they just arnt good enough. The one way id go about it is spend late September and early October at Sliverstone as theres at least a 60% chance that you will get at least 2 days full wet weather running, and they need to get at least 2 GP2 cars and the R30 chassis out on track with developmental rubber on them.
I have noticed that in the past 3 or 4 years that you will have at least 20% or 30% of the 20 races on the callender wet. This year has had every weekend but two with at least 1 wet session so far, even race day in Bahrain had rain falling at the start, but it was so hot there that it evaporated instantly. Valencia was the last GP that wasnt weather affected. And the chance of a wet GP id rate at arround 25% every weekend, whitch means there will be arround 5 wet GPs a year.
This is good enough for me for there to be a push in development in wet tyres, the current slicks are good enough for me, maybes a little gardening needs done on the operating windows of them, but that is being done. I think Pirelli will now look at wet weather tyres next for a development push.
Pirelli have done a 8.5 out of 10 job for me, they arnt as good as the Bridgestones or Michilens yes, but have they done what was asked of them in their breif, i think so.