Pirelli tyres to be “very conservative” in 2014

2014 F1 season

Pirelli medium and hard tyresPirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says the company plans to produce much more conservative tyres for F1 next year if they remain in the sport.

F1’s official tyre supplier’s contract expires at the end of this year. They returned to F1 in 2011 and were briefed to produce tyres which degrade quickly with the aim of producing more unpredictable racing.

Their tyres were criticised earlier this year for being too aggressive. Pirelli altered the construction of the rubber following a spate of punctures during the British Grand Prix.

And with sweeping changes being made to the design of the cars next year, Pirelli are planning to be more conservative with their design.

“We’ll probably go very conservative next year if we can,” Hembery told ESPN. “We say conservative but we might find that there’s so much torque that it becomes aggressive from this year’s conservative – but we do believe that with all the changes that the teams are going to have it’s probably a year for us to stand back and let them deal with their new challenges until maybe everything settles down.”

Hembery said the subject of tyres is likely to take a back seat in 2014: “I think next year will be a year for standing back because you don’t want to throw in tyres with the confusion of maybe teams trying to master the new powerplant.”

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72 comments on Pirelli tyres to be “very conservative” in 2014

  1. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th July 2013, 9:41

    Well there’s a surprise! Or not… After all the trouble they’ve had this year, they were never going to do anything else!

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 24th July 2013, 10:03

      While this year’s issues will have been an influence, I doubt they were the sole or even main factor in this decision. The fact is, Pirelli won’t know for sure how next year’s cars will eat tyres until winter testing. If it was Michelin/Bridgestone/Goodyear, they’d probably do the same thing.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th July 2013, 15:33

      I would be happy with 2011 tyres.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 24th July 2013, 21:22

        @jcost problem is, how would they judge how to replicate 2011 levels of influence with the 2014 cars? If they literally just bolted on 2011-spec tyres the chances are we’d have 2013-style racing given the likelihood of less aerodynamic grip, more wheelspin and the greater mass leading to more kinetic energy being involved.

        Comservative is a good bet initially I’d say, but by all means 2011-style tyres in 2015!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th July 2013, 11:45

      Well there’s a surprise! Or not…

      very much so @petebaldwin, especially as Pirelli have already said the same about 2 months ago.

      As @raceprouk mentions, the issues at the background of all the tyre trouble this year – lack of knowledge of what teams will be doing with their development, paired with complete lack of testing anything up front – give good enough reason to stay conservative.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th July 2013, 14:10

        I think it is not even about Pirelli not knowing what to expect for next year. I thnk that if even we armchair fans have some info as to torgue levels and drivers needing to use care with the throttle coming out of corners, then surely Pirelli has actual scientific numerical data already, that heads them toward knowing what they need to do at a minimum for next year.

        This is about Pirelli having been contracted to make tires that shake up the grid a bit, or at least shake up team’s strategies to try to create more of a show…however it is you want to word what F1 has decided they need to do by mandating the types of tires Pirelli has been asked to supply over the last 3 years. I think the main reason Pirelli can make more conservative tires next year is that there is an expectation that the show (or more importantly to F1 the potential variation between teams and thus more unpredictability) should come from teams wrestling with whole new chassis and engines. Tires shouldn’t need to be the main storyline next year. It should be about whose engine, or chassis, or combination thereof is better and who can evolve their package quicker. And the potential is there for a shakeup of the recent usual order of things.

        I just hope that once the teams get a solid handle on their new packages we don’t see for 2015 a reverting back to the tires being the main storyline and a limiting factor. If that happens I think I will finding myself questioning why they bothered with engine/chassis changes to begin with.

  2. crr917 (@crr917) said on 24th July 2013, 9:49

    Even slower cars then. The 5s from the forum thread is not so far fetched now.


    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 24th July 2013, 10:15

      Not necessarily true.
      You can still make a tyre that is durable and quick.

      Bridgestone 2010 option tyre was crazy quick, and durable.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th July 2013, 11:48

        Indeed @tophercheese21. The biggest change will not be that the tyres will be slow, but more that they won’t try and build tyres to last for an X amount of laps to force teams into more pitstops than the 1 that is mandated by the rules (can we please get rid of that one too?)

        Sure, its possible that they will be harder, on the other hand if they last, then drivers can push more without consideration on tyre wear – something that is a very good starting point when we know that the energy recovery systems + turbo will allow pretty good drive!

  3. MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 24th July 2013, 9:53

    As far as I’m concerned this is great news, and also I think it’s about time Pirelli is given a contract for next year nad maybe even longer. Aide from the glitch they had this season, they have been doing a fantastic job

    • Metallion (@metallion) said on 24th July 2013, 10:17

      Agreed. I don’t understand the delay about the new contract. No other manufacturer will want to commit for next year with so little development time left so Pirelli is the only option for F1. Unless some manufacturer has been preparing secretly but I don’t know how likely that is without any car to do testing with. These kinds of things should be confirmed a year in advance, but the FIA never change.

      • Robin V. said on 24th July 2013, 13:03

        The last I read about the contract extension is that Pirelli is actually holding off at the moment. Pirelli believes the new contract hasn’t gotten enough safeguards to prevent a situation like the Silverstone blow ups. Basically they want more chances to test and assurances that if they want to develop tires with a team that they can do that and if they want to change tires during the season they do not have to make sure every team agrees. All to prevent the teams from crying about tire testing and to prevent teams that protest when Pirelli want to introduce new tires without having to tell the world that their tires are unsafe. No tire manufacturer want to tell the world their tires are unsafe before being allowed to change the tires.

  4. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 24th July 2013, 10:01

    Awesome! Thats what all fans want…processional races with no overtaking. Its gonna be fun!

    • Bjornar Simonsen said on 24th July 2013, 11:10

      It seems to be what F1 Fanatic wants at least.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th July 2013, 19:48

        I’ve never said that.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th July 2013, 1:25

          @keithcollantine, me either but I say hooray, now the drivers will be able to “push” and harry the car in front, and most of all winning will be more about what the team built and how well their driver drove than it will be about the tyres they had to use and track temperature on the day.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th July 2013, 8:15

          @malleshmagdum, you might be able to make that argument only if , there was only one tyre or even 2 very similar tyres, the teams had plenty of access to that tyre when designing their car and were able to test it under conditions that could be expected throughout the season.
          However there are 4 different compounds and the teams do not know which 2 compounds will be chosen for which track and under what weather conditions the race will be run, they also have almost no knowledge or experience of the tyres before they design their car and virtually no testing of the car and tyres under actual race conditions before the season starts, under these conditions it’s a lot more luck than science if a team gets the most out of the tyres .

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 24th July 2013, 11:19

      DRS and KERS are banned then? Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and the rest will forget how to overtake this winter? Re-fuelling is back? 100% reliability with new parts and new engine configurations?

      F1 fans are reminding me more and more of Doomsday Preppers. ‘I don’t worry about F1 going to bits (WHICH IT WILL!!) because I am armed with passive aggression, YouTube and a lot of nostalgia. I might be the crying minority now, but once the proverbial feces hit the proverbial fan, I’ll be a pack leader in calling F1 out on not being enjoyable anymore!’

      • Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 25th July 2013, 13:18

        @npf1 sadly most F1 fans want rules that help the team they support. I have a frnd who loved Pirellis when it helped his fav driver. He nw hates em bcz his driver is struggling on it! In the corner of my heart I want very conservative tyres that will teach these fans a lesson

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 24th July 2013, 11:42

      Well there are so many variables next year that making the tires another factor is probably too much to cope. But we’ll see. The processions we saw in the 2000s were mostly due to refueling – 2010 saw already an increase in overtakes after they banned it and I think that was a pretty great season.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th July 2013, 15:37

      So overtaking is all down to tyres @malleshmagdum? If so, I’d rather not have any.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 25th July 2013, 13:18

      More power than grip will be awesome! The cars will become even trickier to drive, which in itself will result in little mistakes, so I expect the most epic racing in years!

  5. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 24th July 2013, 10:11

    Good choice Pirelli! You still need a contract though and the Michelin rumors are becoming stronger and stronger every day.

  6. svarun (@svarun) said on 24th July 2013, 10:13

    Well then why not the FIA also be really conservative and show Pirelli the door. ;)

  7. Krichelle (@krichelle) said on 24th July 2013, 10:19

    Pretty good news… I hate seeing lap times like 10 seconds slower than the qualifying times… Although… That is normally the case when it is high fuel. But normally, the drop off of high fuel to qualifying times is like 5-8secs depending on the track. I agree that in F1 we need to manage tyres, gearbox, engines, fuel… But if we are like going to manage it, TO PUT OUR WHOLE RACE, TO PUT OUR WHOLE ENERGY into those things… It has gone too far… Managing those for some laps is pretty fine, but if it is for the whole race… Then that’s off the boundaries…

  8. andae23 (@andae23) said on 24th July 2013, 10:20

    Excellent news. Formula 1 will enjoy my spectatorship for another year (yes, I’m now on a year-to-year contract with Formula 1, that’s how I’m feeling about the sport’s recent developments).

    Interestingly, Pirelli are not planning on pulling out of the sport, despite the negative publicity they have gained (not entirely justified imo), which has led to lame jokes like “I’m glad Pirelli doesn’t make condoms” which I’ve heard at least a million times. They want to rectify things, which I think is a very cool objective.

    I could have never imagined it, but I’m genuinely excited for next year. Unfortunately that will make it a bit more unbearable to watch F1 this year.

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th July 2013, 10:36

      +1 this is great news. No more silly tyres… roll on 2014 I say.

    • PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 24th July 2013, 13:14

      I think we could be back to the days of seeing cars squirming on exit of the corners, with the drivers wrestling the cars into a straight line. Everything will be so different, I think it’ll be exciting to see how it all pans out. If anything, I’ll just enjoy watching completely different cars to what they are now racing around. I can not wait.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 24th July 2013, 14:35

      @andae23 I ok with anything as long as there is no “brawnish” or “newish” dominance with one team winning all the time . Of course , that apart I’ll support my favorite driver no matter what ; just like all the diplomats around here :P .

      Formula 1 will enjoy my spectatorship for another year (yes, I’m now on a year-to-year contract with Formula 1, that’s how I’m feeling about the sport’s recent developments).

      LOL . By the way , how do you quench your speed thirst in these long breaks ? Is WEC interesting (I might follow webber there ) ? Which could I start off with WEC or DTM ?

  9. karter22 (@karter22) said on 24th July 2013, 10:25

    Why does everybody automatically assume that “conservative” tyres is synonimous to prosecional races? At least now we can see drivers actually push like crazy and actually race without having to take care of the tyres! It was about time in my opinion! I predict 2014 to be somewhat similar to 2010 and we all know how good 2010 was!
    Awesome news!

    • marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 24th July 2013, 22:05

      when was the last time you watched a race from mid-2010? The races were horrible, but the championship thrived thanks to close-run title battle that had nothing to do with the races themselves. Bar the (quite a few) races where it rained, 2010 was a borefest.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th July 2013, 22:58

        Just because a race doesn’t have millions of pointless DRS passes doesn’t mean a race is “horrible”. While we do still get some good non-DRS passes, overtaking was, and should still be difficult.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th July 2013, 14:26

          @karter22 I doubt his means the drivers won’t have to take care of the tires. Sounds to me like no matter the tire, if drivers aren’t careful with the loud pedal out of corners they might kill their tires relative to other drivers, even if the rears are tough. But I take your point that hopefully the drivers can push more and not have to let cars by and run to delta times for fear of killing their overall strategies.

        • Christopher (@twiinzspeed) said on 25th July 2013, 15:26

          I agree. I remember passes in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that were epic. With all the fake DRS passes, it has become boring. What good is a pass if it is always on a straight ? The new formula having less aero and more mechanical grip should make things much more interesting. Besides, I despise watching drivers drive to a delta. F1 should be about going as fast as possible for as long as possible. That allows the most talented drivers to showcase their abilities. I know they best are still at the front now, but it just seems too artificial.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 25th July 2013, 16:26

        A borefest?? Really? 2010 Is by far one of the best seasons I can remember. It had everything! And so much for Bridgestone making up for crappy races!


        Just because a race doesn’t have millions of pointless DRS passes doesn’t mean a race is “horrible”. While we do still get some good non-DRS passes, overtaking was, and should still be difficult.

        You nailed it David!


        I take your point that hopefully the drivers can push more and not have to let cars by and run to delta times for fear of killing their overall strategies.

        That is exactly what I meant! I´m sick of delta lap races! That is boring!


        I despise watching drivers drive to a delta. F1 should be about going as fast as possible for as long as possible.

        My sentiments exactly!!

  10. The reasoning is quite sensible as well.
    With the regulations being what they are for next year, the teams are going to be dealing with a whole new set of variables anyway.
    There’s no point in unnecessarily adding another one on top of that.

  11. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 24th July 2013, 10:47

    I predict that last paragraph will come back to bite Hembery. The truth is when all is said and done, Pirelli have no one else to blame for the fiacos that have unfolded this year; no matter how they try to paint it.
    Pirelli is an Italian company; and chaos, inefficiency and incompetence are the normi n most of Italy.
    And before anyone accuses me of institutionalised prejudice, i spent years dealing with Italian companies and practically living in Napoli. My experience was continually one of incompetence, bribery and confusion. It was no better than China.
    I have friends who own Ducatis (Desmo), Maseratis’s (Quattroporte, 3200, 4200GT, Granturismo) and Ferrari’s (360, F430), and without exception, all these contraptions spent more time at respective dealers fixing one fault or the other, than they did with their owners. The Ducati and Maseratis; especially the 3200, 4200 GT, were exceptionally bad, with the Ferrari’s faring slightly better.
    This is a country where majority of the populace are willing to elect a crminal toad like Silvio Berlusconi to power almost 5 times…go figure!!

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th July 2013, 14:40

      I won’t profess to know how it works in Italy, but I do think that Pirelli can certainly look toward the type of tires they have been asked to make, as well as the lack of testing in F1, as to contributing factors to this year’s problems. Otherwise, I don’t think the Tribunal would have split the blame evenly amongst FIA, Pirelli, and Mercedes for the Pirelli tire test in May and rather I think Pirelli would have been heavily fined, not just reprimanded.

      If chaos, inefficiency, and incompetence is so the norm in Italy and by your extension at Pirelli, then how do you explain that the tires were fine last year and the year before, and that we don’t hear of endless complaints and thus the ruination of Pirelli from providing lousy domestic car tires?

      While I have certainly heard the stories about expensive and frequent maintenance issues with exotic cars, I doubt Pirelli would have lasted this long in the tire business with equally problematic tires.

  12. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th July 2013, 11:14

    I still think of the two compounds at each race, the prime should last the whole race but be less performing than the option tyre, whcih should last about half the race. Strategies then would be working on whether the improved performance of the softer tyres is enough to delete the disadvantage of having to stop once more than those on the harder tyres. Obviously this would only be possible if the “start with the tyres you qualified on” rule is scrapped.
    However, there could be a hard tyre which lasts half the race and requires one pit stop and a soft tyre which lasts a third of the race and requires two pit stops. As long as the difference in performance is worth stopping an extra time, and stopping an extra time to prevent drop-off of the tyre allows the driver to catch back up with those who did not stop and are on older tyres, I’m fine with it.

  13. Webbo (@webbo82) said on 24th July 2013, 11:31

    Reading F1 Racing last night, they say there’s a CVC 5-year (I think) track signage deal with Pirelli in place that only started last year. They’re in the power seat now – they know that no other company will supply the teams with ‘Pirelli’ plastered around all the tracks. Thus they can start making these statements and stop pandering to the teams’ wishes, OWG, FIA etc. This is what happens when the teams and drivers spend 18 months whipping Pirelli in the press.

  14. BJ (@beejis60) said on 24th July 2013, 12:02

    Hven’t Pirelli been saying this for months now?

  15. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 24th July 2013, 12:09

    What this headline actually reads is…

    Lewis Hamilton becomes the 2014 F1 World Champion

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th July 2013, 12:15

      lol perhaps. Vettel will still win though.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 24th July 2013, 13:41

      @william-brierty all eyes are on Mercedes! You never know though, Red Bull is essentially Renault’s works team (not quite on the same level as McLaren-Honda will be but they have a close partnership) and there’s always Ferrari…

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 24th July 2013, 13:58

        @vettel1 – Yes, Red Bull is a kind of works team, but the relationship between engine and chassis will be no where near as close as the harmony between the Mercedes and Ferrari engines and their chassis. Also I can’t imagine Renault are exactly pleased with the way Red Bull have been labelling their engines as “Infiniti power” (Renault and Infiniti are essentially the same thing, both sister manufacturers under the Nissan umbrella) and with Lotus-Renault still having remnants of the old works Renault team floating around, and the name “Renault” on the side of their cars, I personally see a closer relationship between Lotus and Renault, than that between Red Bull and Renault. Regarding Ferrari, I don’t see a dangerous technical team at the marque who probably hasn’t had the out-and-out fastest F1 car since the 2010 Italian GP. Mercedes looks like the strongest package next year.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 24th July 2013, 15:11

          @william-brierty absolutely on paper Mercedes should have this one wrapped up: they have the most in-depth technical team, the greatest resources, arguably the best driver line-up and an extremely close relationship between engine and car manufacturer. The likely minimised influence of the tyres also with the recent press statement from Pirelli should also remove that area which has been handicapping them from the start of the artificial tyre era.

          However, we won’t find out I guess until 2014 who has the best engine package and of course who has found loopholes in the regulations, so for me it’s still pretty open at the front between the manufacturer teams and in actual fact most of the field, even if the odds are forever in Mercedes favour! ;)

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th July 2013, 15:44

            Yes on paper. However, Newey is Newey. No matter the new regulations and new generation of car design, even if they fail to start on top he will find a way to fix the car.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th July 2013, 14:49

            Hmmm… not sure where it has been stated that Mercedes should be the team to beat next year but one of my first thoughts at hearing this suggestion is why then were so many people thinking LH made a mistake moving to Mercedes?

            I do recall clearly that Ross Brawn’s opinion last year was that where a driver would want to be for 2014 was with a manufacturer based team, and I defended LH’s move on that basis amongst other factors, but if Mercedes is such a shoe-in for next year, then why was it still being debated at the start of this season whether LH made the right move or not?

            Personally I think that the teams to watch are equally Mercedes, Lotus, and Ferrari, as they will be the factory teams marrying their own engines to their own chassis’. And yes, then there is Newey.

  16. Libellula (@ladyf1fanatic) said on 24th July 2013, 12:24

    Don’t care at all… Just want to see Mercedes AMG F1 on top from now on!

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 24th July 2013, 12:27

      Me too, nice to see a Mercedes fan :-)

    • dutchtreat (@dutchtreat) said on 24th July 2013, 17:08

      Though I am a die hard Williams fan, I hope there will not be a dominant team next year. It makes the racing much more interesting. Not another Newey RB year…

      • Libellula (@ladyf1fanatic) said on 24th July 2013, 17:25

        I’m not a Red Bull fan but I’d like to see the likes of Alonso, Kimi or Lewis rewarded for all the efforts they’ve been putting on track fighting a much more faster car (they deserve to have another title to their names) TBH Lotus and Mercedes have impressed me so much since last year for all the development race, resources and money they’ve put up and spent… If 2014 sets a new domination era for them even Williams, then we should be happy!

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th July 2013, 23:06

        @dutchtreat @ladyf1fanatic
        Four teams have won this year. I wouldn’t say any car has been “dominant”, or “much more faster”.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 25th July 2013, 0:32

      @david-a to springboard from that, to me to be “dominant” you have to have won over half the races in that season. Red Bull have won 4 from 9, which isn’t over half obviously.

      So no, no team has been “dominant”: one has been better no doubt though ;)

      • dutchtreat (@dutchtreat) said on 25th July 2013, 6:31

        Vettel seems to have a lot of points though. You don’t think he is dominant?? You don’t think he is going to be WC again? I like your optimism.

  17. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 24th July 2013, 13:10

    Any news on next years Japanese GP? I’m hoping it’s still there.

    • Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 24th July 2013, 13:11

      Sorry, thought this was the round-up.
      I’m glad they are more conservative, may make F1 bosses realise that the tyres haven’t solved F1’s problem in regards to overtaking.

  18. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 25th July 2013, 3:11

    I like this decision. It means that the talking will finally not be about the tyres anymore.
    All we hear about every race is tyres, tyres, and more tyres.

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