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Hot air in Pirelli-Alonso spat?

2013-10-06 06:48


BEARDED IN HIS PIT: Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso relaxes in the team pit during third practice session for the 2013 Korean F1 GP. He later blamed Pirelli's tyres for his poor grid position. Image: AFP

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso criticised tyre supplier Pirelli - at least indirectly - for his failure in qualifying for the 2013 F1 GP. The rubber company's Paul Hembery didn't think much of that...

YEONGAM, South Korea - Pirelli hit back at Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on Saturday after he criticised the company's tyres after 2013 Korean GP qualifying.

The Spaniard, second in the championship but 60 points behind Red Bull's triple champion Sebastian Vettel, qualified only fifth for Sunday's race while his German rival will line up on  pole position for the third race in a row.

He told reporters the tyres could not even last a fast lap of the circuit without their performance dropping off.


Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery retorted: "Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion.

"I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres."

Alonso had recognised that his car was off the pace and accepted that the tyres were the same for everybody even as he complained about them.

"The tyres cannot do five kilometres. If you push them, you finish the tyres. It's something that is not normal," he told reporters. "We have to be honest and the quality of the tyres is very on the limit.

"But I'm not blaming the tyres. That they are not good we all see with our eyes. It's the same tyres for everybody... so it's a compromise we need to find.

Pirelli, who came in for strong criticism earlier in the season after a several blow-outs that led to a change in compounds and structure, has long argued that they are only meeting Formula One's own request for less-durable tyres to encourage overtaking and mix up the strategy.


Ferrari is second in the championship and Alonso said he and Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa could be proud to be ahead of their rivals, given the pace of the car.

"We are the third or fourth-fastest team. It's what we've been in the last four years and I managed to fight for the Drivers' championship and we put Ferrari in second position in 2012," he said. "We are now in second position and Felipe and I will try to do our best to keep it... in a way (we can be) very proud of our personal performance."

Five races remain after South Korea, with Vettel likely to wrap up his fourth successive title long before the season-ender in Brazil in November. The German has won the last three races and seven of the 13 to date.
Read more on:    ferrari  |  pirelli  |  fernando alonso  |  formula 1

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