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F1 tyres 'a means to an end'

2013-05-14 12:15

TYRES HURTING F1: Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz continues his bashing of Pirelli's 2013 tyres stating that they are detrimental to the sport. Image - AFP

Despite Fernando Alonso's fantastic win at the 2013 Spanish grand prix, it seems the Formula 1 world is more fixated on the tyre saga with Red Bull stating that the current situation "contradicts" the idea of motor racing.

So crucial is the impact of Pirelli's controversial product this year is that rumours are swirling that Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz may have renewed his threat to pull out of Formula 1.

Reports say Mateschitz met fellow Bernie Ecclestone in Barcelona before hinting to reporters that he was losing patience.

'TYRES BIGGEST JOKE'

Mateschitz said: "F1 tyre management is not a race. The tyre is a means to an end - it's how you transfer the potential and performance of the car and driver to the road."

He said the current situation "contradicts" the very idea of motor racing.

Whether Mateschitz threatened to quit or not, or whether the F1 chief executive heard Mercedes' Niki Lauda say the 2013 tyres are "the biggest joke", Ecclestone is now on board.

Mateschitz said: "The tyres are wrong (and) not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did a half-race. Pirelli knows it and is doing something about it.  We'll go back to last season's type of tyres, which gave us some close racing."

As ever in F1, however, it's not that simple. The complaining is not universal - especially among teams who have made the tyres work for them so far.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said: "It's not as simple as that to just change the tyres."

Lotus' Eric Boullier agrees that pulling the rug from under teams who are not complaining was "not fair".

"Pirelli was asked to build tyres that last 20 laps and they've done that.  If our car can do it, the other teams should work just as hard," he said.

'DAMNED IF WE DO, DAMNED IF WE DON'T'

Pirelli is also protesting about the fairness of the current situation; criticised if they do nothing, potentially accused of favouring Red Bull if they make a change.

Paul Hembery said: "If we do something that helps them, we can understand that Lotus and Ferrari won't be happy. We will be damned if we do and damned if we don't."

Hembery said: "It would be much easier and cheaper to produce tyres that last the whole race. Anybody can see the number of tyres we are manufacturing and taking to the race tracks.  We could greatly simplify our task.

"As I've said, it's a choice between one or another kind of competition."

On the F1 grid, competition and politics speak the loudest.
Welt newspaper correspondent Simon Pausch said: "The more frustrating the results, the louder the complaints."

The Times journalist Kevin Eason, characterising Mateschitz's words as "a declaration of self-interest", added: "(The) tyres (controversy) is only a symptom of deep confusion and malaise in F1. Costs, 2014 engines, division of wealth etc."
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