Pirelli: Most teams support aggressive tyres

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2013Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says the majority of F1 teams support the aggressive tyres which are being used this year.

The paddock is split on the subject with some drivers and teams criticising the tyres and others supporting them.

But according to Hembery eight of the eleven teams have told them not to change the tyres: “It’s really bizarre because behind the scenes we actually get a lot of lobbying from people telling us not to change things.”

“There’s obviously a media-led point of view which comes from the drivers and then behind the scenes we’ve had a lot of lobbying. I think there’s now eight teams that have come to us, written to us, emailled us and said ‘whatever you do, don’t change anything’. So we’re in a bizarre situation, really.”

Much of the criticism is focused on the extent to which drivers have to back off to preserve their tyres. Hembery said that kind of limitation is not unusual for F1:

“You race to the package you’ve got. In this case it’s tyre-limited in some cases – it’s been like that through history in many ways. You still find at the end of the race it’s going to be the fastest car and the best driver on the day.

“It’s a bit like saying ‘can I have another hundred horsepower more?’ These engines could easily do more. So it’s where you want to take it.

“We got asked to replicate Canada 2010. If you remember that race it was quite a novel race compared to the format of races during that period in time. That’s the input we’ve have and the impact we’ve been asked to continue giving.”

China soft “intended as a qualifying tyre”

The soft tyres used in China came in for particular criticism as no driver spent more than seven laps on them during the race. Hembery said: “We intended that really to be almost like a [qualifying] tyre.”

“It was to push the people that needed to use it to get the time and then you found at the start of the race they had to pit early. The hope there was more of the Q2 teams would take the harder option.

“They didn’t, actually, and we were surprised by that, because that would have enabled them to gain position on the circuit and made it harder or made it more interesting as the Q3 guys come charging through. That was the idea, it wasn’t intended really as a race proposition.”

He added the decision not to bring the soft tyre to Bahrain was made before the race in China: “The Sunday night after Malaysia we thought that race went ahead with really not too many issues so we thought we’d bring the same combination here, being very similar in terms of temperature and quite an abrasive track.”

Hembery said any future decision on whether to change the tyres would be weighed against the effect it might have on the championship:

“We will do a review after the race here on Sunday night and we’ll probably decide what we do Monday, Tuesday before we get to Spain. You’ve got to be careful because if you make changes during the season – say for example we’ve made a change and one or two teams suddenly made a big jump forward you’d be now asking you’ve just favoured a few other people’.”

“So you’re in a bit of a no-win situation. You’ve got to be really careful because if that does happen then you are influencing the championship. If we make changes we’ve got to make it early on. You don’t want to be doing anything after eight or nine races because again that’s going to favour probably one or two teams.

“And also bear in mind we were having the same conversations last year and by the end of the year nobody was talking about it. The teams have the best engineers in the world. The drivers are there are at the top for good reason – they’re intelligent people, they work out how to get the best out of the package and you’ll see the same as we go forward.”

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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71 comments on Pirelli: Most teams support aggressive tyres

  1. As I wrote a couple of months ago, the way F1 is set up at present gives the tyre manufacturer (and the FIA) tremendous power to decide a seasons outcome.

    If going into the final batch of races Pirelli knows that certain tyres favor Team A and certain other tyres favor Team B, then whichever way it goes in tyre selection for those races it it will be favoring one team over the other. There is no “level playing field” – what we have a playing field which which by design is capable of being tilted one way or another.

    • Jimmy2013 said on 19th April 2013, 18:01

      Which was the criticism towards the end of last year, The more conservative tyre selection was seen to favor Red Bull.

      Whether they mean to or not, Pirelli’s tyre choice has a direct impact on the championship & the compound selections they pick could easily swing the championship in 1 team or drivers favor.

      This is why i support the idea of teams been able to make there own compound selections for each race, Make them nominate compounds in time for pirelli to be able to ship out the required compounds.

      • The more conservative tyre selection was seen to favor Red Bull.

        I don’t recall any such complaints at the time, as opposed to after the season ended. But that’s neither here nor there.

  2. Minardi (@gitanes) said on 20th April 2013, 5:25

    I hope China was as bad as its going to get. The double DRS didnt help because drivers were just powerless to fight regardless of what strategy they were on.

    So what if the tyres were only good for 7 laps? The refueling era had everyone going flat out 100% of the time for short stints, some of which were 10 laps or shorter, and all we heard about was how hard it was to pass in f1.

    So what does that tell you? The DRS is the culprit now. You can’t have it too easy to pass and varying strategies at the same time. I really think that without any DRS in China the complaining would have been minimized.

    Last year was brilliant. Why did they need to mess with the damn DRS???

    But……really as long as Red Bull aren’t disappearing into the distance each race, then I’m happy.

  3. infernojim (@infernojim) said on 21st April 2013, 8:50

    I think the rage against the tyres is wrong. They all have the same tyres so may the best team win. My bigger annoyance this season is with the drs zones which have been pretty stupid at Malaysia and China with people passing halfway down straights. The differing tyres wear during the races make passing more possible to start with due to differing levels of grip and therefore drs is needed less (not at all??). Use your eyes and brains f1 and shorten up those drs zones. The defending driver needs to have a chance to defend…

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