A frustrated Pirelli has today issued a statement with the tyre specifications for the next three Grands Prix, noting that it has not be able to introduce its revised 2013 tyres, due to a lack of testing and a failure of the F1 teams to agree to the change.
The revised tyres, aimed at solving the delamination issue, which some teams suffered in Bahrain and Spain, were brought to Canada last weekend, but only received scant testing due to adverse weather conditions. Pirelli was keen to substitute them for the old construction, claiming that the old ones were not unsafe, but calling for the change because the images of delamination were negative for the company’s image.
Some teams were briefing last weekend that the tyres must be replaced as safety cannot be compromised on high loading circuits like Silverstone, where corners like Copse and Becketts will put huge loads into the tyres.
However there is an atmosphere of suspicion between teams with the other camp – of those who have an edge from managing the tyres well – not wanting to give an advantage away to Red Bull and Mercedes in particular. With Red Bull on dominant form in both championships, despite higher tyre wear than rivals Ferrari and Lotus, the situation is fairly toxic.
Once again, Pirelli is caught in the middle. It is partly its own fault, as it deliberately went for ‘aggressive’ tyre compounds this year, which proved a bit too delicate in early races. After initial uproar, driven by Red Bull and Mercedes as well as many fans, it proposed to address the high degradation with a change mid-season, then the delimitation issue kicked in and complicated matters and since then the situation has unravelled.
In its statement today, Pirelli noted,
“The tyre construction will remain unchanged, contrary to Pirelli’s initial plans.
“This decision is due to the fact that the new tyres, which were brought to the Friday free practice sessions in Canada, could not be tested sufficiently due to rain – and that the teams failed to agree unanimously about introducing the changes.
“Instead a change in the tyre production process should now ensure that the delamination issue has been addressed.”
Pirelli is under pressure on several fronts at the moment; it is also a respondent along with Mercedes in the FIA International Tribunal taking place on June 20th, over the controversial Mercedes test session last month.
At the same time the company has not yet resolved a tyre contract for supply in 2014 with all teams. The the subject appears to have become even more of a political football than it was at the start of the season with high-degradation splitting the teams between those who could managed them and those who could not.
Media colleagues in Italy have begun to speculate on whether the company may reconsider its involvement in F1 in the light of the ongoing chaos and its doubts over why it has been roped into the FIA Tribunal as well as the potential damage to its brand.
However there has been some progress on Pirelli’s main gripe – lack of testing – as teams agreed in Montreal to do four two day tests following European Grands Prix next season. Motorsport boss Paul Hembery described this as “more than adequate” to develop racing tyres.
Hembery withdrew from an official FIA press conference in Montreal, instead hosting his own event in the Pirelli hospitality area, where he said that the company will be demanding some solutions from the sport to the problems it has faced this year, once the Tribunal is over.
For the record, the tyre choices for the next three races are:
Silverstone: Medium & Hard
Germany: Soft & Medium
Hungary: Medium & Hard