Virgin's technical director Nick Wirth believes the 2011 season could become a "vintage" year thanks to Pirelli's work and the introduction of new rules.
Pirelli is returning to the sport this year, and Wirth reckons the Italian tire manufacturer has done a good job in listening to the fans and teams to produce a tire that will degrade to help improve the show. Wirth fears that Pirelli will come under criticism for producing such tires, but he still believes Formula 1 is set for an "absolute corking year."
"At the end of the day, the biggest single variable is the driver," said Wirth when asked about this year's tires. "When you have got rear tires going away, it is the old right foot. I think you guys and the general public could be in for an absolute corking year in terms of spectacle.
"We have the movable wing, which no one knows what the hell is going to happen with it, but thankfully common sense has prevailed and the FIA has given themselves the means to experiment. We have 20 times to try different things throughout the season. It will do something and if it is really horrible, and people don't like it, then we can turn it off – no big deal.
"The single biggest thing that is going to be a factor this year is the tires. Everybody watched Canada, and they went, 'This is what we want, please can we have some tires that fall apart?' Bridgestone tried a little bit toward the end of the year to repeat what was a cock-up in Canada, and Pirelli has listened.
"I hope they don't get lambasted – I fear they will. They have listened, I've been involved in the technical discussions and they have tried to engineer some tires that degrade, because that is what people want, and it would be a real shame if the drivers get out of the car and say, 'These Pirellis!' and they get bad publicity.
"They have been asked to do it and I think it could be absolutely fantastic – really, really great. We had a great year last year [and] all the regulations are tighter this year. It could be a vintage year and then you have the noise of the tires going haywire, plus the movable rear wing – it could be absolutely fantastic."
Wirth also reckons the smoother drivers like Jenson Button will benefit significantly from the characteristics of this year's tires.
"Jenson is probably rubbing his hands together," he said. "It is difficult to know. Timo [Glock] did not cover himself in glory in Canada last year with tires falling apart. I hope to give him a far, far better car than I did in Canada. He is a great driver – he is very intelligent and he will figure it out, but it is going to be hard for everyone. It really is.
"It is the ones who keep calm when the whole world – or the four tires – are falling apart who will succeed. They have to hang on in there and think that everyone else is in the same trouble. It is going to be fascinating."