Karun Chandhok reveals tyre regulation change he has wanted for seven years

Michelle Foster
A stack of soft Pirelli tyres. Bahrain March 2022.

Soft compound Pirelli tyres are lined up with each other in the pit lane. Bahrain testing March 2022.

As fans took to social media to lament another boring one-stop grand prix in Miami, Karun Chandhok believes F1 is missing a trick by not tweaking the rules to state drivers must use all three compounds during a race.

Formula 1 fans have been left disappointed by the last two grands prix, Baku and Miami, both of which were won by Red Bull.

1996 World Champion Damon Hill defended the show, taking to Twitter to write: “Some people are not enjoying this race. Which tells me they don’t understand Formula One. This is two guys fighting it out to become World Champion. It’s down to split seconds.”

But it was not that it was the Milton Keynes squad’s four and fifth win in a dominant season that was the problem, it was that neither race was particular exciting as the entire field opted for one-stop strategies.

Lacking action, excitement, and intrigue behind the feuding Red Bull team-mates, Chandhok said on Twitter the rules should be changed to state that “all three tyre compounds must be used during a race that’s not declared wet at any stage. The cream will always rise, but it would be more exciting to watch!”

He explained his stance in the latest Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“I think Baku was a terrible race, it was an utter snooze fest,” he told Martin Brundle and Natalie Pinkham. “And I think this [Miami] was decent, sort of middle of the road.

“But I should go back to the point, I put a tweet out about it yesterday and I’ve been banging on about this since 2016 and in every FP1 that I go or FP2.

“I still think we should have a regulation where they have to use all three compounds in the race, it will have two-stop race.

“I immediately got a couple of texts back from engineers in the pit lane saying, ‘well, we couldn’t have done that in Miami because the soft tyre wasn’t good enough’.

“But so what?

“It would have done five or six laps at some point, and they would have all had to use it for between six and eight laps, and it would have jumbled things up around around pit stops.

“I still haven’t understood why it hasn’t happened. Because anytime you talk to someone at F1 or the FIA, they go, ‘oh, that’s an interesting idea. We should look into that’.

“And then it’s been seven years and nothing’s actually happened.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

‘Massive’ Mercedes and Ferrari upgrades on the way, claim Red Bull

The DRS rule tweaks that F1 could make to improve racing spectacle

Former F1 driver Brundle agreed, saying he’d “go with that because the best race is unquestionably the marginal two-stoppers, will they get to the end without needing a third stop, followed by the marginal one-stoppers.

“We used to have it a lot with falling off the cliff. It all looks set for the last five laps and suddenly people just fell by the wayside. They kind of managed that a lot better these days, both at Pirelli and and in the teams.

“You don’t necessarily want to fabricate it, but the tyres are there, they’ve done a world tour. Let’s put them on and use them.”

Chandhok is adamant that tweaking the rules to state that drivers must use all three compounds is not creating a “fake race” but rather it would allow for “some variants” in strategies.

“Exactly,” he replied, “because a lot of the criticism now from the purist fans are saying, ‘oh, you’re doing too much to create a show and fakeness.’

“For me this is a sporting regulation, like you have any other set of rules, like you have 13 sets and defined in the rules.

“All I’m talking about is is line the sporting regs that does it in a way that doesn’t create a fake race.

“And I think you’ll get some convergence, because all the strategist they are of a similar mindset or a similar personality, and they probably come up with the best similar optimum strategy.

“But with the undercut and overcuts will work and when they use the tyres, you will have some variants by definition. So I’d like to see it happen.

“We seem to be in a culture of more openness. We’re trying sprints, we’re trying qualy formats, we’re trying different things.

“I’d like to see a bit of variety for the main grand prix because I feel like we’ve sort of not done anything with that in terms of the actual lights out to chequered flag.”