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Pirelli needs F1 teams backing

2013-10-08 07:42


IN THE LINE OF FIRE: Pirelli's Paul Hembery said they need F1 teams to help them resolve the tyre issue by supporting tyre tests rather than complain about it. Image: AFP

SEOUL, South Korea - Pirelli has urged Formula 1 teams to give it the tools to do the job rather than complaining that their tyres are not good enough.

The Italian company was again in the line of fire at the 2013 Korean Grand Prix, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber complaining about how quickly their tyres were finished.

McLaren's Sergio Perez suffered an explosive delamination of his front right tyre during the race at Yeongam which left debris strewn across the track and brought out the pace car, an incident reminiscent, in terms of drama, of the spate of blow-outs earlier in the2013 season that triggered safety fears and forced Pirelli to return to 2012's structure with 2013 compounds.


Pirelli's motorsport head Paul Hembery told reporters on Sunday in Korea there were no worries about the Perez incident but there was real concern about how the tyres would behave in 2014 when the rules change significantly and V6 turbocharged engines are introduced.

A planned tyre test with McLaren in Austin, Texas, before November's 2013 US GP was cancelled after objections that it could favour the team, which is fighting Force India for fifth place overall. Pirelli has done several tests, including a controversial 'secret' one with Mercedes in May, with teams providing older cars but has repeatedly complained that it needs to use more-representative machinery.

"We're running around in a 2010 car, developing tyres for a 2014 car, one which nobody really knows what it's going to look like," said Hembery. "Yet every time we even ask to test with a 2011 car we come up against opposition. We need to be able to test and help everybody - drivers and teams.

"While nobody wants to think they're going to get an advantage in testing you can't carry on going round in circles and decide to do nothing."


Hembery said Pirelli wanted to reduce the amount of 'marbles' - small chunks of tyre rubber - that litter tracks and increase the mechanical strength of the tyres' compound. To do that, it needed to test at certain tracks with suitable conditions and needed teams to help. Sao Paulo's Interlagos circuit could offer one such opportunity after the season-ender there in November.

Another option would be for Pirelli to test in Bahrain in January before two more scheduled pre-season tests there with all the teams in late February and early March.

"Ideally, at the end of the season, we'd like to see some use of these (2013) cars because they're the best and the quickest we've got," Hembery said. "It would make sense to use them because, for most teams, they'll be of little relevance anyway."

Sunday's race at Yeongam was marked by high degradation and heavy stress on the front right wheels with drivers talking afterwards about how their tyres were effectively "dead". Hembery smiled wearily when asked whether F1, which will allow some limited in-season testing in 2014 after banning it to reduce costs, was getting what it deserved,

"To an extent, yes," he replied. "We're still talking about trying to sort out testing and we're in October. I just hope the engine manufacturers for next year have been able to do their work otherwise the conversations we'll be having might be with them - I hope not, for their sake."

Hembery said the new engine was likely to see a dramatic change in the application and delivery of power yet there were no plans to test tyres in rain on the 2014 cars before the start of that season, despite the risk of a tropical deluge at the second race in Malaysia.

"There are things, as a sport, on which we need to improve, which is something that is starting to be recognised. A number of team principals have said we need to do something different and we agree with that."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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