Jenson Button has admitted he is at a loss to understand how to make this year's puzzling Pirelli tyres work to his advantage.
The nature of this season's rubber has fast become a major topic in Formula One given how crucial a role it is playing in the outcome of races, even more so than on Pirelli's debut last year.
Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher complained after the last race in Bahrain he was unable to push either himself or his Mercedes to the limit due to rapid degradation of the tyres.
Schumacher on Thursday questioned the influence Pirelli are having on races, and he is now hopeful his comments will spark a wider-ranging debate on the issue.
It certainly appears to have become the case that at particular times in races and on certain circuits some cars run like a dream when they find the right balance with the tyres.
To that end, glory this season depends on which combination of car and driver finds the key to unlocking performance throughout the majority of the remaining races and tracks.
A stumped Button said: "It's great for the sport and the fans, but for us as a team it's difficult to work out why one weekend we have the pace and the next weekend we don't.
"Aerodynamically our car is strong, and I don't think we're too bad mechanically.
"But sometimes it just doesn't seem to click, and a lot of that must be down to the four things attached to the circuit.
"If you asked the fans they would say things are perfect, but for us it's a tricky one.
"Unless you are winning every race then it's very difficult to complain about the tyres because somebody is making them work.
"It is definitely more complicated this season. Last season the tyre degraded, but you could understand the tyre and work with it and set the car up around it.
"But now I am finding it difficult to understand. Some people are making it work, but you can't really point the finger at Pirelli and say it is their fault."
Button, who trails reigning champion in Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel by 10 points ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, was left particularly perplexed after the race in Bahrain nearly three weeks ago.
Although Button retired a lap from the end, the 32-year-old and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton were left trailing in the wake of winner Vettel and Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean who finished second and third.
With four winners from the first grands prix, Button added: "We have a good car, we proved that at the first race (in Australia where he won), and again in Shanghai where we were very quick.
"But at the last race Lotus and Red Bull were a second quicker, and I don't understand why, and nobody else within Formula One understands why there was such a change.
"I don't think they have a car that's a second quicker than us now. I think it's circuit dependent, and the conditions make a big difference to whether you can get the tyres working on a certain car.
"So it's very tricky at the the moment to work out who is quick.
"I've never been involved in a season where there have been so many teams fighting for victories at different circuits."
what do you think?
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