McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Pirelli should not be criticized for the unpredictable results produced in the first five races of the season after admitting that predicting form this year had so far proved the most challenging in his career.
Whitmarsh said that things could have been worse for the sport's fans if Pirelli had produced a "benign" tire following the most wide open start to a campaign since 1983.
Asked whether he agreed with the view of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz that this year's Pirelli tires had too much influence over the outcome of a grand prix, Whitmarsh replied: "A little bit yes," before adding that this was not the Italian manufacturers' fault.
"I don't want to be critical of Pirelli in that sense," he said. "If they had made a benign and easy-to-use tire then in a sense, probably all of the teams, drivers, engineers would be much more comfortable in what they do each weekend, but the fans and the show will have been affected detrimentally.
"As a team principal, and a racer within this business, I can see some of the frustrations as to how significant tire performance has been and how challenging that is, but standing back from it I think we have put on an extraordinary start to this season – we are 25 percent of the way through with every single race having a different constructor and driver winning. It will be very tough on us if it carries on for another 15 races like this, but I think it is all there to play for."
Whitmarsh added that he could not remember a time during his stint with McLaren when it had been so difficult to know his team's level of performance going into a grand prix.
"Giving predictions in F1 is normally quite difficult but I have never known it quite as challenging in my 20 years in the sport – not knowing when you go to a new event whether you are going to be competitive or not, or even from day to day it seems. So it causes some internal frustration, but I think it is great for the sport overall."