Pirelli admits it was wrong to let teams swap tyres

2013 German Grand Prix

Pirelli tyre, Nurburgring, 2013Pirelli motorsaport director Paul Hembery says they shouldn’t have allowed teams to swap tyres between opposite sides of their cars.

F1′s official tyre supplier cited this as one of the causes of the series of punctures seen during the British Grand Prix.

“At Silverstone we’d underestimated the impact of swapping the tyres,” said Hembery. “The cars were two, maybe three seconds per lap quicker this year and whilst we’d allowed the teams to do that we’d underestimated the impact on the tyre.”

“When you swap them around that creates a point with the metallic belt that we have on it, on the left-hand side, the camber side, and that created the weakness. We got that wrong and we needed to get it right going forward.”

Further changes will be introduced for the Hungarian Grand Prix which will be tested at Silverstone next week by drivers in the current cars: “The young drivers test were taking along some of the tyres, well the structure of the tyre, that will be used going forward this season.”

But Hembery confirmed Pirelli will have to go back to using their three-year-old Renault R30 for further work: “The Paul Ricard and Barcelona tests are with the 2010 Renault and it’s our own testing that’s looking for a few things for next season.”

“But obviously it’s a little bit slow now compared to the way the cars are moving.”

Asked why Pirelli had changed its tyres despite stating the previous compounds were safe, Hembery said: “You’ve seen at Silverstone a very dramatic increase in performance compared to previous years. Some teams described it as a three-fold increase in loading on the tyres.

“So going forward you learn from those situation, obviously, and you want to give a great margin. So it’s purely that.”

“The rate of development in Formula One is vast and you’ve also got a moving target,” he added. “So you don’t need two signals like that, do you?”

2013 German Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 German Grand Prix articles

Image ?é?® Pirelli/LAT

Advert | Go Ad-free

51 comments on Pirelli admits it was wrong to let teams swap tyres

  1. Gebraden Kip (@gebradenkip) said on 5th July 2013, 17:26

    a “three-fold increase in loading on the tyres”? That can’t possibly be right.

  2. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 5th July 2013, 17:31

    I’d love to know which teams were doing this and which were not. As best I’ve been able to piece together, Mercedes started doing it after the illegal test/before Monaco, which is also when they got their tyre problems under control. I believe Ferrari were doing it all along, and Red Bull were not. But this is all an educated guess.

  3. Manished said on 5th July 2013, 17:38

    why used back the 3 years old car as it can never provide representative data……..

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 5th July 2013, 17:46

      Because no team will be willing to part with their old car ( cost wise ) . But maybe they can ask caterham or marussia for a 2013 car at the end of the season …… to tell you honestly I don’t know the exact reason but I think it has something to do with cost . Any sugesstions ?

  4. Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 5th July 2013, 17:39

    I wish there was an easier way for Pirelli to use a current-spec car to test. They should’ve gotten their hands on the old HRT, it may be slow as heck, but it is way closer to a current car than the poor old R30.

  5. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 5th July 2013, 17:40

    It’s all very odd. Back in 2011 the FIA stepped in to enforce Pirelli’s recommended camber settings on the teams after there were reports of tyres blistering due to some teams going beyond the recommended camber limits.

    So why didn’t the FIA this year likewise simply mandate that everyone run their tyres the “right way around”? I get the feeling there’s much more to all of this than we are being told.

  6. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 5th July 2013, 17:42

    Considering the parameter of the “young driver test” is now changed, can Mercedes be allowed to test the new tyres? It does seem that they tyres that are going to be tested next week are “newer” ones.. correct?

  7. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 5th July 2013, 17:52

    I believe Pirelli and the FIA must issue a disclaimer saying that “usage beyond recommended parameters may destroy the tyre”. I cannot fault Pirelli for tyre failures now. Seems like its the teams’ mistake.
    Imagine making modifications on your new car. Its gonna void the warranty. That’s what the teams have done.

  8. Stijn (@stijnzer) said on 5th July 2013, 18:27

    read: They are admitting FIA was wrong?

  9. GT_Racer said on 5th July 2013, 19:27

    The reason the tyre swapping was allowed is because its not caused problems in the past.
    Teams have been doing it for years & its not caused any problems so there was never any reason to stop it.
    The reason its an issue now is because of the steel belt Pirelli introduced this year, That makes the tyres directional.

    As I understand it, The swapping was only something done when using a used set of tyres. For instance the 1st stint of a race for all those who ran during Q3.

    There is no actual performance advantage but it does extend the life of a set of tyres, Especially if one side takes a bigger hammering than the other.
    For example if the left/rear is wearing faster than the Right/Rear on a circuit, By swapping them you get an extra few laps of performance out that set because after the swap the tyre taking the most load has less wear on it.

    Don’t believe it was something been done during the race when it was a new set been put on in the stops as there would be no gain from doing it.

  10. Tariq Patel (@mdtariqp) said on 5th July 2013, 19:54

    Finally Pirelli have admitted that to some extent they are also at fault

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th July 2013, 22:26

      Hardly. This was an issue the teams created for themselves.

      • tvm (@tvm) said on 6th July 2013, 9:44

        @prisoner-monkeys

        Interesting, so you are saying that the teams ran the tires outside specification as provided by Pirelli?

        Care to share a link or something?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th July 2013, 18:13

          @tvm Pirelli has previously given guidelines for minimum pressures etc… but the teams are not required to adhere to them. It has been common practice for them to exceed the recommended limits. There have been past instances where this was suspected to have caused failures – one famous example being Mika Hakkinen’s tyre failure and crash at Hockenheim in 1999 (running on Bridgestones).

          • tvm (@tvm) said on 7th July 2013, 11:59

            @keithcollantine

            Yes…

            But Pirelli are present, strongly present, at every venue, they are fully aware of everything that is being done, including tire swapping, tire pressure and camber settings, I don’t recall them issue severe warnings, don’t recall them saying “told you so” after Silverstone??

            But sure as the taxman someone (@prisoner-monkeys) will walk in saying “its the teams own fault”, because, of course, when you reduce it down to the atomic level the teams are at fault the second they send a car on track regardless of the settings.

            Akin of saying “speed doesn’t kill, its when you hit something that’s the bummer” = engineering stupidity and technicalities.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th July 2013, 23:00

          @tvm – I’m on my mobile at the moment, so I can’t really copy links over. However, if you look at the front pages if the blog or Autosport, you should find a story about the FUA making Pirelli’s recommendation mandatory with ease.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th July 2013, 23:01

            Actually, here is one:

            http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/108543/

            The FIA has imposed strict camber and tyre pressure limits on the teams, based on Pirelli’s recommendations.

            Ted Kravitz also commented during the British Grand Prix that Pirelli recommended 20psi as the minimum tyre pressure, but most teams were opting for 18psi, and Red Bull were going as low as 16psi and possibly even lower, but he could not confirm it.

  11. hzh (@hzh00) said on 5th July 2013, 20:01

    But what about all data obtained from the “Pirelli tyre testing” with the 2013 Mercedes car. Shouldn’t this 3 day test have provided sufficient info for Pirelli to improve their products (at least for safety)?
    What I have seen so far is that this test was not necessary (as a pure tyre test conducted by Pirelli) given that I have not seen that improvement in the safety of the tyres. And as we all know, the new exploding tyre problem dominated during the last GP.
    On the other hand, during the period following the test, Mercedes’ tyre problems almost vanished and they are almost dominating every GP.
    I am not denying that Mercedes may have worked out their tyre problems on their own without the aid of the test, but I still question the output of the test whether it was for Pirelli’s advantage or for Mercedes’ advantage.

    • fjv said on 5th July 2013, 20:23

      Pirelli did not improve, Mercedes did Improve… its a worthy question

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 5th July 2013, 22:57

      The problem is your assuming the Pirelli test was to test for 2013 Tyres, when in fact is was to test experimental concepts for 2014. They did some minor tests with i think one concept for 2013 tyres but the rest of the tyres in the test were nothing to do with 2013.
      They were not testing to improve safety but to experiment with construction and compunds for next year.
      With the Merc remaining unchanged apart from replacing damaged/worn components for the entire Pirelli run test in the same spec that it finished the Barcelona Grand prix. During which two cars ran for three practice sessions ( in which parts and setup changes could be made with few restrictions), qualifying and a race distance. You really wonder how much more they could have learnt after the first perhaps 100km of the Pirelli run private test on tyres they had no knowledge of.

      • hzh (@hzh00) said on 5th July 2013, 23:46

        After all the delaminations that have happened before that test, Pirelli should have done some safety testing for the 2013 tyres during that “Pirelli test”. So I do not think the test was only for the 2014 tyre development. I am not opening the argument again if Mercedes were right or wrong for using the 2013 car, as they were already penalized for doing so. I am also not opening the argument that Mercedes may have gained an advantage during the test, as there were many articles discussing how they could have gained a significant advantage over their rivals. I am also not denying that Mercedes are a great team that could solve any problem without doing something illegal, and I respect them as well as their drivers.
        To clarify, I am not assuming that Pirelli were testing only for 2013 tyres, but how they, after facing the delaminations back then, could have not targeted such safety issues for the current season during a 3 day test. They do not even have a contract for next year.
        Finally, after all of what have happened, in my personal opinion, I find it now difficult to believe Pirelli in all of what they say. So if they said the test was targeted toward 2014, I honestly still doubt it, because may be they were afraid to face more problems with their 2013 tyres, so they may have secretly tested for that for their own reputation. Yet, we saw what happened last weekend. Too bad…

  12. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 5th July 2013, 21:17

    I don’t get the problem with tyres swapping sides of the car. If you swap it around the loads will be identical. The outside of the tyre is still the outside. Just on the other side. Same as taking a left or right corner. How is this an issue?

    Alternatively they might flip the tyre so the inside now becomes the outside. Makes sense that that won’t work on an asymmetrical design. The loads would be the inverse of what ‘the tyre would normally face. though, in this case it doesn’t make sense to swap the tyres to the other side of the car.

    Do they flip and swap at the same time or what?

    • hzh (@hzh00) said on 5th July 2013, 21:29

      When a tyre is swapped, its rotation will be opposite to what is supposed to be on the other side, so it will face forces in the opposite direction to what is designed to face.

    • socksolid (@socksolid) said on 6th July 2013, 0:22

      Different tracks cause the tires to wear asymmetrically. Some tracks cause more wear to right side front, some for both left side tires and some more to the left rear and so forth. When you swap tires from left to right you balance the wear between the tires.

      If you do not do that then the tire that is going through the biggest wear is the limiting tire for your tire strategy and performance because that tire simply wears out first. When you swap tires you move the less worn tire to the tough spot and move the most worn tire to the opposite site which sees less wear and as a whole your tires are more evenly used which also means you can use the full set for little longer.

  13. jhr9988 (@rhj8899) said on 5th July 2013, 21:40

    Who’s here agree with multiple tyre manufactures in F1?? We don’t need to bother about who’s providing the latest testing car for Pirelli. Just let the tyre manufactures compete themselves. Bridgestone Michelin Pirelli Dunlop etc etc.

    • hzh (@hzh00) said on 5th July 2013, 22:19

      I am.
      I am also with bringing refueling back.

      • Dizzy said on 6th July 2013, 0:13

        Still don’t get the fascination with refueling & why anyone would want to see it come back?

        Refueling was awful & did nothing but hurt the on-track racing, There was nothing good about it.

      • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 6th July 2013, 2:42

        (@hzh00) (@rhj8899)

        Refueling made for terrible viewing, and the tyre wars were ridiculous and simply meant one set of teams would win depending on the weather/temperature. Having one tyre manufacturer is a good thing, they simple need to stop making tyres that melt so quickly, either by request from the FIA or by choice.

    • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 5th July 2013, 23:02

      And on which cars are each of these tyre companies going to do their development work with?

  14. hzh (@hzh00) said on 5th July 2013, 23:42

    after all the delaminations that have happened before that test, Pirelli should have done some safety testing for the 2013 tyres during that “Pirelli test”. So I do not think the test was only for the 2014 tyre development. I am not opening the argument again if Mercedes were right or wrong for using the 2013 car, as they were already penalised for doing so. I am also not opening the arguement that Mercedes may have gained an advantage during the test, as there were many articles discussing how they could have gained a significant advantage over their rivals. I am also not denying that Mercedes are a great team that could solve any problem without doing something illegal, and I respect them as well as their drivers.
    To clarify, I am not assuming that Pirelli were testing only for 2013 tyres, but how they, after facing the delaminations back then, could have not targetted such safety issues for the current season during a 3 day test. They do not even have a contract for next year.
    Finally, after all of what have happened, in my personal opinion, I find it now difficult to believe Pirelli in all of what they say. So if they said the test was targetted toward 2014, I honestly still doubt it, because may be they were afraid to face more problems with their 2013 tyres, so they may have secretly tested for that for their own reputation. Yet, we saw what happened last weekend. Too bad…

  15. GT_Racer said on 6th July 2013, 12:25

    I just spoke to someone from McLaren about Silverstone.

    He said that when Perez suffered his failures they had NOT swapped the tyres round & were not running camber or pressures outside of Pirelli’s guidelines.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.