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Hembery: Pirelli takes responsibility. Ecclestone keeps the faith
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Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jul 2013   |  11:48 am GMT  |  36 comments

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has said today that the company is not seeking to shirk responsibility for the failures at Silverstone.

Mid week the company issued a report on the events of the British Grand Prix and appeared to be loading the blame onto the teams for misusing the tyres, which didn’t go down too well among some of the teams.

Hembery later issued a personal note saying that he did not seek to blame the teams for what happened at Silverstone and today he has spelled out where he sees Pirelli’s responsibilities lie.

“We take responsibility for underestimating the increase in performance of the cars, the loadings on the tyres at Silverstone were phenomenal,” he said. “Two seconds a lap of jump is a huge amount in one year.

“And we were allowing the teams to swap the right tyres to the left and with the metallic belt that meant that you were creating a point when they were switched to the left, where the load was.

“So we had the issue that we had. The other issues in reality are secondary, but we are still analysing a lot of tyres from Silverstone.


“I don’t want to take away from our responsibility, which is that we needed to have foreseen the situation better.”

At Pirelli’s request the FIA has sent out some mandatory figures for minimum tyre pressures and camber angles, to avoid teams doing anything extreme with the revised specification tyres.

In general the teams are obliged to run the tyres 1 PSI higher than the recommendation for Silverstone, so 20PSi is the minimum figure for when the tyre is up to temperature. This is several PSi higher than some of them have been running.

Meanwhile Bernie Ecclestone has told Gazzetta dello Sport today that he blames the teams for what happened with the tyres in Silverstone – due to their lack of ability to test – and says that he has faith in the Italian company for the future, expecting a new contract with them to be concluded soon, “Certainly, ” he said. “There is no doubt about it.”

He added that no other tyre company had offered its services as a supplier to F1 in recent weeks.

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36 Comments
  1. hotAir-O-foil says:

    Beggars belief . . .

    Amusing how the F1 expert insiders, whether teams or suppliers, continually patronise the fans with misinformation and obfuscation and then drip-feed us the ‘truth’ when they feel it’s in their best interests.

    Long live the pinnacle of ‘motor-entertainment’ – a technological joke.

    1. chris green says:

      +1

  2. Gareth says:

    James off topic, can you look into rumors that the Sauber Team is in trouble. Heard that Hulkenburg hasnt been paid and the team have stopped development on the car.

    1. James Allen says:

      Heard that too about Hulk. He did well to qualify 10th, for sure they still have improved the car.

  3. goferet says:

    To be fair, this scandal with the tyres was just a perfect storm where a number of things lead up to what happened in Silverstone.

    You see, thanks to lack of in season testing with a current F1 car to the politics where some teams veoted the new tyres to the dangers of swapping tyres the was not evident at the time and so taking all that into account, we can’t really blame Pirelli or the teams >>> It was just one of those things kind of like a racing incident in racing.

    Thankfully, everybody has learnt from their mistakes and so we won’t see the same thing happening in the future.

    Credit to Pirelli for sticking around and willing to sign on a new deal despite what seems like a public relations disaster on the outside.

    1. Random 79 says:

      ‘Thankfully, everybody has learnt from their mistakes and so we won’t see the same thing happening in the future’

      Oh goferet, if only that were true…

    2. pirelli should never have tried to be too clever and play around with both construction and compounds in the first place.

      they could always have said ‘no’ but they joined up for the joke which just happened to blow up!!!

  4. Sebee says:

    Well, that settles it.

    It was the teams, but we should have stopped them earlier. End of.

    Let’s race!

    James come clean, have you been swapping rear tires to improve JAonF1 performance? Traffic and comments on this subject must have set records!

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s always a popular site for comments and visitors. We’re looking like moving up to almost 2 million active users worldwide this year, so it’s always busy!

    2. Random 79 says:

      You hear that Sebee?

      Almost 2 MILLION ACTIVE VIEWERS!!!

      That’s gonna be a lot of comments for you to count ;)

      1. Sebee says:

        Wow. I have to do a better job proofreading my comments before submitting.

  5. Quade says:

    I hope we can finally draw a line under the tyre problem.

    1. Sebee says:

      I’m tired of going round and round too. :-)

  6. Fareed Ali says:

    “No other tyre company had offered its services as a supplier” – No kidding! I imagine they would not want to touch F1 now with a 10 foot pole.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Not a very good advert for F1 is it, if not a single (competent) tyre manufacturer are interested in a supply contract.

  7. mhilgtx says:

    My comments yesterday on Paul Hembry were prior to me watching the actual TV broadcast. I feel I did not treat Mr. Hembry well.

    After finally getting a chance to watch the broadcast it certaintly sounded like Pirelli and Hembry are being more proactive and taking their fair share of the blame.

    Good for them, they may have been dealt a crappy hand by the FIA and then the FOM by not letting them change tires after Barcelona but things look to be heading in the right direction.

    1. Tim says:

      Very magnanimous of you, most people would not admit they had made a mistake. One of the many things I like about this website is the posters are, by and large, polite and the debate doesn’t degenerate into a mud slinging contest :-)

  8. testgate rules says:

    paul, we the fans know that you are not at fault. Bernie used pirelli’s prestige to get f1 a good deal, like always.

  9. Random 79 says:

    So from now on the teams have to run within the proscribed parameters. If I recall correctly that means the camber no more than 4° on the front and 2.5° on the rear.

    Unless it was just me it seemed that just by looking at the cars during quali that the cambers were markedly lower than they have been previously…so can anyone tell us what cambers the teams were running before?

    1. Tim says:

      I have done a bit of Googling and cannot find a definitive answer, sorry. However, the best information I could find is that the teams would have typically used something like 3 degrees static negative camber. But, as the suspension comes under load the geometry is altered and this would increase/decrease the camber by several degrees over the course of a lap. Apparently the settings parameters issued by the FIA are maximums allowable under load – Martin Brundle, on Sky, thought this would be difficult to measure and would be largely done on trust, as opposed to tyre pressures which are measured all the time and logged.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Kudos for the effort Tim, but I doubt you would find the teams leaving their specific setup parameters all over the web for google to find…however, you might have more luck checking Hamilton’s twitter ;)

        Still, I can’t help think that the reduced cambers and increased pressures were the reason so many teams were struggling with understeer while some others had oversteer – sure the track was warmer, but normally they’d find an easy solution…except in this case the easy solution wasn’t allowed.

        Looks like the engineers are going to have to put on their thinking caps :)

  10. Random 79 says:

    Bernie says: ‘no other tyre company had offered its services as a supplier’.

    …but that doesn’t mean that no other tyre company wasn’t asked if it would be interested in supplying it’s services, does it?

    1. Martin says:

      My understanding is that the FIA has previously committed to issuing a tender for the next three or five years. It hasn’t done so, and could leave itself open if it didn’t. The problem now is the lack of time to issue it. The tender was meant to have been issued well before Bahrain and any of the delamination problems, and at that point the FIA had no reason to complain about what Pirelli had done in the previous two years.

      How the FIA gets itself of this one will be interesting. It might find way to only issue it to Pirelli.

      From what I’ve read, Michelin, Bridgestone and Hankook have all said they are not interested.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Can’t really blame them either.

        From what I’ve read Michelin might have been interested if there was competition as in the early to mid 2000s, but as sole supplier not a chance.

  11. dean cassady says:

    Bernie, cleverest man in F1, whether you like him or not; he knows what he is doing, and he is one of the very few who do.
    Agree completely that it was the teams and the tactics with the tires, for the most part, which lead to Silverstone debacle.
    This is just Hembery putting on the appropriate face, now that their message is out, with a greater content of verifiable facts.

    1. testgate rules says:

      bernie used many people before him to get what he wanted. He has seen it all and done it all. pirelli thought he was getting a good deal, what he got was a sour one.

    2. Jonathan says:

      I have to disagree – I would say that many people know what Bernie is doing!

      They might not always know how he is going to go about it and certainly don’t know how to stop him!

      All he is interested in is maximising his ability to extract money from circuits, teams and fans. He screws as much money as he can out of everybody by playing one against another at every opportunity. I guess his real skill is similar to that of some drivers. He pushes as far and as often as he can but recognises the point of no return. He plays chicken – look at the deal he did with Silverstone. Unfortunately others do not come out of it very well – like Donnington that was lucky to survive after trying to deal with the little man.

      Pirelli are suffering in the same way – tyres are one of the few variables left in F1 so no matter how little the changes they have a massive effect on outcomes.

  12. Arrow says:

    Memories are very short in this sport and every player has an agenda… While wringing his hands over what he referred to as the short-shortsightedness of Ferrari, Lotus and Force India, it was Adrian Newey and Red Bull who chose to run extreme and potentially dangerous camber angles at Spa in 2011 against very strong advise from Pirelli. That was a case of willfully putting drivers in jeopardy – something Pirelli cannot be accused of..

  13. Hiten says:

    This proves that RBR was right wrt tyres from the beginning of the season…they were not crybaby as people and other teams used to call them!!!

  14. Jonathan says:

    good point

    AN, having input into so many winning F1 cars, has always worked at pushing boundaries as far beyond the rules as the inadequate policing of them allows – probably more so than any other man currently in F1.

  15. Seán Craddock says:

    I haven’t heard a proper explanation as to why tyre swapping has such serious effects on the tyres. The tyres are the same for the whole season (leaving aside this weekend’s change) so would the loads that a tyre on the left rear side felt at Silverstone not be the same as what a tyre on the right rear side feel at a fast anti-clockwise track? Is it more to do with which direction the wheel rotates as opposed to simply the left and right sides of the tyre?

    Also James, do you know how much of a difference the tyre pressures are making to car setup? Because some teams would setup a stiff car with lower pressures sometimes right?

    1. Martin says:

      It comes from the way the belts are made. The tyres are asymmetric, but not strictly directional, so tyre that was on one side can be fitted rolling the other way on the other side, rather than laterally translated. However, the belt was done differently for what are notionally left and right hand side tyres and were designed to cope most with the braking and conering loads in one direction. Swapping the tyres exposed the weaker side of the tyre.

  16. Mike Pountney says:

    Fantastic website Mr Allen. Pirelli need to test new F1 tyres on an F1 car, on an F1 track before handing them over to the F1 teams. They do not own an F1 car to do this, any other type of testing tyres cannot be realistic. I personally would not like to race at F1 speeds unless i had complete confidence that my tyres were fit for purpose. Pirelli have a long history of supplying tyres to F1. In my opinion MR Ecclestone (CEO of F1 management and F1 administration, he is also part owner of Alpha Prema the parent company of the F1 group of companies) bares full responsibility for the Pirelli farce. He has everyone at the FIA, all the team owners and most of the drivers under his thumb. He gives the impression that he wants to see F1 deliver close racing and exciting overtaking whilst keeping safety standards as high as possible, a thin smokescreen for introducing NON STOP RULE CHANGES and questionable ethics. The great Ayrton Senna was the last driver to die in a F1 race in 1994. Thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Jackie Stewart, our sports safety record is second to none in motor racing. Thankfully the exploding tyre’s at Silverstone didn’t add a new name to the long list of F1 fatalities. Don’t sacrifice safety to make more money Mr Ecclestone

  17. Tay says:

    How does Pirelli maintain it’s good image in the media (“if you could do for rally what you’ve done for F1,” http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/106933.html)? Also, where does Hembery get off claiming he’s not shirking responsibility? That’s all Pirelli’s been doing since last week, saying it was teams fault, then FIA, then the track. I’m dumbfounded by why we continue to put up with Pirelli’s nonsense even as the tires are graduating from being trash to being life-threatening.

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