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Pirelli yields to pressure; changes from Montreal onwards
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2013   |  11:56 am GMT  |  415 comments

[Updated] The chorus of disapproval from affected teams, as well as calls from media and fans to do something about the high degradation tyres has led Pirelli to announce today that it is to make construction changes to its tyres from the Canadian Grand Prix in June onwards.

The Italian company blamed the lack of adequate winter testing in suitable climates for producing products this year that have fallen short of the standard required. They admitted in a statement this afternoon that they underestimated the demands of the current F1 cars on the tyres. Pirelli is conducting meetings at its Milan base to establish whether any compound changes are required as well.

The news will come as a blow to Ferrari and Lotus, which mastered the delicate Pirelli rubber in Spain last weekend to take the podium slots, as well as Force India, but will be welcomed by the powerful lobby led by Red Bull and Mercedes calling for more durable tyres.

Pirelli boss Paul Hembery said, “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones. As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary.

“After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history. These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.”

Also spurred on by the recent spate of high-profile tyre failures, Pirelli has decided to return to the kevlar belt construction of the 2012 tyres rather than the steel belt used this year, according to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

It was telling that the TV coverage in the last two Grands Prix, produced by FOM, has broadcast numerous messages from drivers like Lewis Hamiton saying, “I can’t drive any slower” and engineers urging drivers to take it easy and protect the tyres. This has increased pressure on Pirelli and provoked a backlash in the media and among fans.

Having opted to be more aggressive in the 2013 tyre range, Pirelli is having to row back on that, citing the increased levels of downforce the teams have generated over the winter overstressing the tyres. Pirelli also blames the lack of a suitable test car for them to track test the products before introducing them. The 2013 range was developed by Jaime Alguersuari and Lucas di Grassi using a 2010 Renault.

“It was a combination of factors that have come together, “Hembery added. “We didn’t want to make too many dramatic changes, and we do not want to penalise those teams that have taken a design direction to look after the tyres.

“Equally, we had to do something to improve the situation.”

Ideally what Pirelli should aim to do is recalibrate the tyre to maintain the current pace but with slightly less degradation and less wear, to trim it back to 2/3 stop races.

The development tyre tested out in Spain at the weekend was very slow, almost 2.5 seconds off the pace and with very poor warm up, so that is not the answer.

But it is never desirable to change fundamentals part way through a season and inevitably some teams will gain and others lose from this, which could cast a shadow over the outcome of the championship.

Ferrari, Lotus and Force India are entitled to feel aggrieved as they have engineered their car around the tyres that were handed out to all teams in testing and at the start of the season, but there are warning signs that fans are starting to turn away from the current style of racing.

In making the change Pirelli acknowledged the link between perceptions of its F1 tyres and its road tyres and now participation in F1 might affect that,

“We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow,” said a statement.

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2

4 pit stops ain’t right.

The changes can’t come soon enough.

We need racing.

F1 is a farce just now.

3

Two wins, WDC lead, and you still want tyres changed to suit your car. What a way to celebrate your 4th consecutive title.

4

well RGS, what makes you think that the bridgestones were the sole reason why overtaking was most difficult? they were a minor contributor. the reason why overtaking was limited was mainly due to aero problems, not tyres.

why did the FIA go to all the trouble to look at introducing radical body changes to clean up the ‘downwash’? why did the FIA introduce adjustable front wings? why did the FIA introduce KERS? why did the FIA introduce DRS?

you should get your facts straight. the latest changes to the tyres [this season] were introduced to nobble RB and reduce their superiority in technological design.

that is why RB have been so vocal….along with maclaren, mercedes et al. pirelli should not be the arbitrator on who does or does not win races/championships. the teams spend hundreds of millions of $$$ in techno development then they bolt on trash 3 lap tyres and it is all a complete waste!!! you may like to see 84 pit stops in a race but i prefer to see my racing on the track.

5

I has my fact straight the one unrealistic is you. There wasnt 84 stops just 4 stops, nothing unrealistc. And all change you mentioned were done after each season was over NONE on mid season. Moreoever, if you want facts to be straights, Brawn and the diffuser, it was a crying out for the rest from the rest of teams since it exploit the gray area of the rules but still was between the rules and stayed for more than one season and that is the reason Brawn is not complaining because is the same for everyone, some got it right and some got it wrong, if it doesnt work you dont change it on mid-season you do it for next season as it has been done in almost every year. RB is vocal when their cheating doesnt work and that is fine with me but at least I saw a race in spain no like any other where the guy at front win all the time and there were more overtaking in this race than all the previous spain gp race toguether in the past. You want to go back to parade, no problem, if that for you is racing, well enjoy it. Moreover, Pirelli was asked for this and Bernie was quiet about until RB owner talk to him private so Bernie became vocal, Pirelli change their statement from “I was asked for” to “Im wrong” so that clearly shows manipulation to favor the one with the biggst checkbook that maybe told Bernie I pull out from F1 if you dont change that.

BTW, FIA doesnt change the rules to stop one team, they do it to make the competition more even so they have a better show and it has been done to Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, WIllians, now RB but most of the changes were done after season is over. How do you think would Lotus and Ferrari feel knowing they did their homework? especially Lotus were their budgets is limited compare to the big shots? Moreoever how do you feel if you were the one doing a project to compete for a job, got it right and other didnt and then they change the rules for all during that project becuae they feel was not what they intended at first????

Dont come here to tell me or anyone else to get our facts straight Ive been watching this F1 circus for 30 years or more and I know how it is…at the end it just about about Bernie wallet since he got the rights, the show came later because it wasdamaging the sport to have a parade, no one turn the TV in a sport where there is not real competition on, that is not entertainning.

BTW, each part of the car has a contribution to every race, and manage tires is something that has been forgotten, kids, just get in the car and start to push that pedal without any skill cause the car has would has a great deal of grip. Before the tires, traction control was taken out to separate the boys from men, now tires were added to the equation, nothing new, you just have to work harder. Maybe doesnt work well so then you change it for next season, plain and simple. Moreoever, you want to avoid this issues, let every team has their own tire supplier, yes it cost more but we wont be having this absurd conversation because a bunch of kids doesnt know how to look after the tires .

6

“In making the change Pirelli acknowledged the link between perceptions of its F1 tyres and its road tyres and now participation in F1 might affect that…”

If Pirelli is so keen to address any open questions about the correlation of F1 and road car tyres, perhaps they should drive the point home at some point, by introducing the LOW PROFILE TYRES that THEY PROMISED to bring to the sport.

Just a thought.

7

Why doesn’t Motogp or other top forms of motorsports suffer from any such shenanigans ? All Pirelli needs to do is make tires that can last atleast 20 laps in any condition, so we can have 2 stoppers doing sprints from flag to pit to flag. Making tires that give up after 3 laps is lunacy..

8

No other sport would change the equipment mid-season, especially when it will clearly hurt some teams and benefit others. Quite shocked really.

9

I will put it plain and simple and no mambo jumbo explanation. Every team tested the tires for this season, every team has to work with what they have, some teams got it right some other didnt but the rules and game condition were place before the season start therefore rules and conditions should state until season end if there is not life threaten circunstance to say the opposite. Changing the conditions and rules mid season is just plain cheating to the teams that got it right. Therefore, the competition becomes a FARSE and a big manipulation of the result. If you agree on that, fine, but dont complain later…have a nice day everyone…

10

Results after pirelli tweaks.

1.Vettel wins atleast 11 of remaining races by a huge margin .

2. Redbull- another constructor title

3. Vettel- 4th driver title with out any competition

4.back to bridgestone boring one stop races, no chance of wheel to wheel racing, no overtakes, no punctures, 100% reliability.

This is what redbull and vettel fans want.

11

having just read bernie’s outburst…he claims that they asked pirelli for tyres that lasted ‘half a race’ [50%] what we got was tyres that last just 20%.

big difference. as i and many others have pointed out, the changes were made to specifically penalise RB for having supreme aero delivering prodigious downforce.

i actually despise red bull for their team management but all the same they shouldn’t have been penalised for being successful. they should’ve left the tyre compounds the same as the last half of ’12. we saw some excellent racing then with very little pussyfooting.

pirelli have messed up and now they have been forced to fess up and make changes. all good if it actually happens.

12

no, they werent, Bernie outburst came after he talked to RB owner. Pirelli is a big company and they wont give you something the boss doesnt want. Pirelli was pretty clear on the first autosport statement after Spain race, if you want antoher change, will give you another but dont complain about parade procession later. But then RB onwer talk to Bernie and Bernie comes out, pirelli change their first statement after the race saying they were wrong. DO you think that seems right? I dont. Pirelli didnt mess up, politics and money messed up, it is just like your wife ,asking you move the furniture around your house several times because she can make up her mind were is the right place to put it…

13

The Spanish Grand Prix was the best race of the year so far. Finally we got to see cars pushing hard throughout a stint. I don’t care if they stop five times for tires as long as they are going as fast as they can. I don’t want to watch the fastest cars with the fastest drivers cruise around so they only have to for tires twice.

14

Lately there is not real faster driver, just faster car. Real racers like kimi are dissapearing from F1 due to technology…

15

No argument there… Technology has always played a role in F1. You could never win without a capable car, but now technology plays too large a role, specifically aerodynamics.

16

The tire delamination issues only occurred this year. This CAN NOT be just a coincidence (from debris).

At the moment, it only ruins one driver’s race at a time. It won’t be long before a major catastrophic crash pops up and Pirelli’s reputation will be ruined.

I am glad that Pirelli finally admits they are wrong and I had been right all along. LOL

17

Pirelli need to say they are wrong because it seems Bernie told them to do it. Bernie wanted this for the show but after RB owned summoned Bernie, everything changed and Bernie became vocal about it. Pirelli wasnt wrong, they were asked for and they told on the first statement after the race if teams want a parade, they can go back to a parade, they will do what they are asked for. Then, after RB owner talk to Bernie and Bernie became vocal, Pirelli placed a 2nd statement were they stated they were wrong so pretty strange how both comment contradict each other after te controversial conversation…

18

Changes mid-season are not ideal, but frankly something had to be done as it was becoming farcical. I find no interest in watching an F1 where the only concern of the driver is tyre preservation. Sure it is a am important factor, but it should not be the no 1, 2 and 3 concern for every driver and team on the grid.

19

farcical is changing something mid season because other team couldnt figure it out…

20

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for the first time in many years I turned over the channel half way through the race, as watch I was watching was not racing.

And the team complaining the most about the tyres leads both the drivers and constructors championship.

21

Nice.

I am glad they are changing tyres, current situation is not tolerable.

I still hope for more tyre wars with some second manufacturer, but I guess it’s unrealistic at the moment.

22

I agree that the first four races were a little tire dependent, but the Spanish GP was great. Ferrari going flat out showed the field that you can push on these tires. The tires don’t need to change, the teams just need to figure it out.

23

According to many publications they have. I dont think there is any doubt it is more than and perhaps twice as much as Lotus who have done a much better job.

Now a smaller team who has done a good job and doesn’t have the budget of rb is going to be disadvantaged to help one of the biggest.

Does this seem fair to you?

24

Smaller teams shouldnt be in F1. F1 should be pinnacle of the sport and if you put teams just to fill empty spaces, as it has been done for a while now, you always get that no matter what

25

Does anyone know how the tyres may be pre-prepared for the race? And do the teams take different preparation strategies?

e.g. Can they repeat oven bake the tyres? Inject superglue into the sub-surface of the tyre?

26

Smells like burnt rubber to me. Stinks.

27

hey James, why don’t you compare the average lap times, or total elapsed time for the winners of the Barca GP for the last 5 years? I assume it’s the same layout, same distance, so we can see just how “slow” these guys are driving in order to manage their tires. As it stands we have a bunch of complaining with no real facts to support any positions. Of course the cars are probably faster today so it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison but at least it’s a start to a rational argument. If the tires are so awful and the drivers are driving SO slow we ought to see some data showing as much.

28

Quick Comparison 2012 -2013 race lap times:

VET – 1st stint (2012) 1m 31s – 1m 30s; (2013) 1m 31s- 1m 29s; 2nd stint (2012) 1m 28s/29s; (2013) 1m 29s
ALO – 2012 2nd stint – 1m 29s- 1m 30s; 2013 1m 29s – 1m 30s

There seems to be very little difference to be honest.

29

But looking at the qualifying lap the cars are a second faster than last year, that means they are slowing down more to do those times in the race.

30
Stephen Taylor

James the fact Bernie came out and had a pop at Pirelli mad me think he was saying CHANGE THE TYRES OR I’LL MAKE SURE THE TYRE SUPPLIER CONTRACT IS GIVEN BY THE FIA TO SOMEONE ELSE! Would you agree with this?

31

But James you already established that nearly all the cars are substantially quicker this year based on Quali, so does this not mean that based on your comparison above, the drivers are driving within themselves and because of the tyres, aren’t taking all the time that the car can offer?

By the logic above, if I drove a Ferrari to work and the next day a Prius, they would be equivalent cars, because it took me the same time to get there.

Clearly this years cars are faster than last years, but we didn’t see it in the race.

32

James, do you want to rethink that reply. If they had DRS everywhere this year, the quali times would be even faster again. Which means that having a race pace the same as last year is going backwards.

33

Yes, but don’t forget they had DRS everywhere last year and not this year, so the difference in pace between Quali and race is less this year

34

We once had to tolerate the DD diffuser from Brawn GP for the whole season. Then…came the flexing wing and blown diffuser from RBR. We had to suck up with these for the entire season. Roll on to 2013 F1 season…the rubber compound is so bad, it has to be changed…again. What about the teams who have optimised their car design around these tires? How will these teams re-optimise their cars with no in-season testing? I am beggining to doubt the success from the new engine formula starting next season. Can’t wait for the Le Mans.

DS

35

James, will you or Mark analyze the conundrum that is Mercedes? Has there ever been a car as polar opposite from Saturday to Sunday as the Mercedes W-04?

36

James is it a coincidence that for the first time in a while that we hear from Mr Matesitchz and then we hear all this from Pirelli ? Maybe at the Barcelona after party he didn’t rock up with his credit card or cheque book and Bernie started breaking out into hives.

I don’t have problem with the construction if there is any concern whatsoever with safety but its clear this is not the reason. A team that has won three championships because high downforce has resulted in maximum grip from tyres can’t now adjust their aero / mechanical set up to be as competitive as teams who have struggled ( and many still are) for 3 years or more .Mercedes haven’t got it right In 3 years & there’s no guarantee they will get it right now either- yet look at what Force India , Torro Rosso and even Marussia have done. Do we forget where Lotus were 2 years ago – that’s the other thing these improvements for some teams have taken up to 2 years being to fruition.

It’s not a question of whether or not this changes the pecking order as it may not-it’s this constant Manipulation to fulfil entertainment over sport that’s got me ticked and certain media, team principals and owners constantly whining to suit their own interests rather than the good of all in the sport and its loyal followers.

No sport this size should be changed mid season – I don’t care if Red Bull had an advantage with blown diffusers or whatever- if the rules say its ok- good luck to them. If its a safety concern – no problem change it every race if need be because that effects everyone.

I said on an earlier post also that Im disgusted by Skysports comments during on board video about how bad everything was – Is their job to promote the sport or to bring it into disrepute ?? I’ve never been a fan of this manufactured entertainment and even the tyres and clearly this year they went too far but why change the compounds now- fix them next at which time we may need bigger, stronger and more durable tyres anyway.!

I’ve been watching this sport for more than 30 but its this constant dribble about it being a show ( which we all know it is) and not being a fair and balanced sport is what’s killing at the same time. Lets see Red Bull or Ferrari beat Lotus or Force India on the same budget now that would be a fair sport !

37

It´s funny how histroy repeat itself in a certain way. Some years ago there were complains about Michelin tyres and them they were ordered to change it and Ferrari won another WDC and WCC. It was obvious from the TV feed in some curves how drivers were managing the tyres which made them look slower than normal. This is what happens when things are taken to extreme levels, like the testing restrictions whihc has caused a total misreading of reality. How you´re going to have a proper test result/feedback on a 5 degrees circuit if the race will be at a much higher temperature and how Pirelli has been out of touch of how much the teams have progressed in downforce and performance for this year. I remember when 4 stops were simply “crazy” like MSC doing it in Hungary and France, but i have to agree to a certain point with Red Bull´s owner that todays F1 is more about tyre managemente than pure racing, and as a fan i feel races are very artificial adding the DRS “helper”, but is also true that based on regulations there are teams that have made their homework better than others (i.e Ferrari & Lotus). A dangerous change now with the potential of givin and advantage to RBR and also with teams facing very soon a shift on focus to 2014 development. I don´t think we will hear the last about tyres, but certainly F1 should see if the “spectacle” showed this years will move away fans better than atract them

38

Has anyone stopped for a minute and thought maybe this u-turn by pirelli isn’t to favour rbr, but to change the construction of a potentially dangerous tyre with an inherent design flaw? So many delaminations so early in the season. I remember lewis hamilton talking about a small piece of rubber hitting his finger and his words were along the lines of “it was frickin sore”…..now lets say we see another delamination on race day in monaco with all the cars so close together. A large section hitting the drivers helmet or upper chest could be catastrophic! I really couldn’t care if pirelli made a tyre that lasted 3 or 30 laps as long as they are safe!

39

It is far from ideal to change the tyres mid-season but it needed to be done. It’s like watching the Olympics Mens 100m final but where all the sprinters have to wear high heels. It would be fair as it’s the same for everyone, it would certainly be entertaining and the result would be unpredictable But would we really want to watch Usain Bolt hobbling around slowly just trying not fall over?

40

But the Ferraris were able to push in the Spanish GP. Alonso’s Ferrari was light years (in F1 terms) ahead of Raikkonen’s Lotus.

Perhaps a more apt analogy would be that in the first four races they chose high-heels because they couldn’t figure out how to tie their laces. Once they learned how to tie their laces they realized that they could run full speed, stopping to tie their laces and still end up in the lead.

41

But Alonso himself said after the race that he was generally only driving at 90%. Driving at 90% is not ‘pushing’ in my book. The teams who are doing better with these tyres are still having to tip-toe with them. When they can’t drive more than 1 or 2 race laps flat out before the tyres are ruined then there is something wrong. The tyres are just not fit for purpose.

I don’t have any agenda here. I hope no team benefits more than any other from this change. I’m just fed up of seeing drivers not even trying to defend their position because to do so will destroy their tyres and leave them worse off than just letting a faster car pass.

42

But 90% is better than 70% and this race was definitely a step in the right direction. Imagine how great the racing could be by, let’s say, Canada. All of the teams will be on top of these tires by then and we will get to see them all pushing really hard… oh wait, that is when they are going to change the tires and ruin F1, again…

Like another commenter said, I can’t wait for LeMans.

43

If nothing else it would make a great youtube video…

44

Best comment of ALL.

Nicely put!

45

Jean Todt must go.

What is HE doing in all this?

I understand BERNIE wants to continue with V8, but JEAN TODT is the one pushing for V6.

At this rate, we’ll soon see F1 races being held in road cars.

Meh!

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