The chase is on
Shanghai 2018
Chinese Grand Prix
Frustrated Alonso lashes out at Pirelli: Hembery responds
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Oct 2013   |  5:22 pm GMT  |  345 comments

Fernando Alonso has got involved in a spat with Pirelli over the tyres in use this weekend in Korea. They are the same supersoft and medium compound tyres used in Singapore, but Alonso criticised them after qualifying, saying that Ferrari seemed to have a particular problem with graining on the supersofts this weekend and if he pushed them too hard in the first sector he risked not being able to complete the lap.

“The tyres cannot do five kilometres. If you push them, you finish the tyres. It’s something that is not normal,” he said in the paddock after qualifying. “We have to be honest and the quality of the tyres is very on the limit.

“It is the same for everybody and I am sure all the cars, if they pushed 100 per cent from the start of the lap, they would not last 5km. So this is not very helpful, and it is not very nice to drive like this for 95 per cent of the lap.

“I am not blaming the tyres. But they are not good. We all see with our eyes. But it is the same tyres for everybody.”

Alonso, who sees his hopes of competing for the world championship receding with every track session at the moment, qualified sixth in Korea, 0.8 seconds off the pace of championship leader Sebastian Vettel. There were criticisms of the tyres in the first half of the season, when they were very much on the edge and in Silvertsone, Spain and Bahrain suffered failures which led to a forced change of construction, back to the 2012 model with a kevlar belt instead of steel. This has definitely hurt Ferrari’s competitiveness, as it has Force India and to some extent Lotus. But Ferrari has also failed to bring through powerful upgrades to its car to keep it on terms with the Red Bull. In the first quarter of the season Alonso and Ferrari were winning races.

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery did not hold back in his response to Alonso’s criticisms.

“Of course Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers, so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion,”Hembery told Reuters.

“I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres.”

The FIA World Motor Sport Council confirmed last week that Pirelli would continue to supply tyres to F1 in 2014, but added that it would be closely monitoring quality. Alonso’s criticism at this moment will have irked Pirelli, as Hembery’s tone suggests.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Maybe Paul needs to go and check with Bridgestone, Michelin and Good Year How to make better tires 😀


Excellent lol! +1


Bring Back Michelin, Bring Back Bridgestone, Bring Back Good Year…. And let them all go at it 😀


I feel the need to emphasize that I believe in supersofts that wear fast.

If a race has 70 laps then for me a supersoft should never render more than 20 laps in good conditions at a reasonably fast race-pace.

But there’s no point in bringing a SS tyre that handles 3 or 4 laps at a fast pace and then can do more 4 or 5 laps at a race pace 1 or 2 seconds slower than the Soft tyre and forcing drivers to either pit 10 laps earlier than expected or risk causing a collision.

It just doesn’t make sense. Maybe Nando is one of the few voicing this but he certainly is not the only one.

And after the painful race at Silverstone this year, Mr. Hembery should shut up and ask his team to do a good work for the rest of the season.


Silverstone this year was a Horror Race….


for all. here we are coming into the last quarter of the ’13 championship and the most dominating factor is still TYRES. this is not only unique but also very very wrong.

surely this fact must ring some bells somewhere out there. we should all be talkng about racing. to think that a third party supplier can make or break a championship at will is beyond silly.

when i think of the mega millions spent by the teams looking for that very last tenth only to be penalised by merde tyres is something that needs to fixed.

partisan views aside, replacing the current tyres and their unsuitability to the exacting F1 demands should be the first thing on everyones mind. maybe we can then go racing once more.


If I was Pirelli’s CEO I would have fired his ass on the spot! Just like that!
I am a Ferrari fan but I not a fan of Alonso.
Yet, I have eyes and they still see quite clearly that the supersofts for this race were pure crap.
And even if “Nando” had been unkind to Pirelli, Mr. Hembery should never had gone as low as the Spaniard. It doesn’t suite him nor the company for whom he “still” works.
The driver was talking about the tyres. Not about the company or about Mr. Hembery himself.


When Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull where complaining all the time about the tires, he did not said a word against Vettel or the Team. There is no doubt that Pirelli made the last changes due to the media pressure that Vettel/Red Bull made against them. Now Alonso mentions something and Paul looses his British manners and behaves like a 5 years old.


GP Drivers Association should rename itself. GP Tire Managers Association. Maybe this would finally satisfy Mr. Hembery.


Modern F1 is a Joke – tires made so they aren’t fit for purpose, false overtaking where the driver in front can’t defend on most tracks with drs and venues where there’s all but zero interest by the local population so there’s little to no atmosphere and modern tracks that aren’t a patch on the older ones.

The real problem with F1 is it’s all about money money money and in truth nothing else – it certainly isn’t a sport.


“The real problem with F1 is it’s all about money money money and in truth nothing else – it certainly isn’t a sport.”

But, I guess it would be if the driver you supported was winning.


No Sir, you guess wrong!


No body minds when a driver loses, if they lost in a genuine race.

Money based driving to deltas and DRS overtakes are an utter waste of time.


“I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres.”

That’s a brilliant response by Paul Hembrey. He should have also mentioned that the soon to be four times World Champion is payed considerable less than he is.


Tyre problems never happened when Bridgestone was supplying them! Pirelli is a desgrace for F1 competitivity!


Never never never in F1 history that we have to discuss tires in this manner. I tell ya, it’s a bloody joke and so damn embarrassing for drivers and fans. Generally it sucks big time.

I know Mr. E wants a good show which is turning out to be so unprofessional!!! Talk about safety! We fans have every right to vent out. Bernie I really hope you’re listening reading or whatever and I’m sure you know the drop in viewership.

Mr.Hembery, are you working for Vettel or what?


Hembrey’s comments were less than professional retorting to Alonso’s observation,to suggest he asks Vettel for advice on how to manage the tyres is disrespectful at best,maybe another tyre manufacture should return and Hembrey will defend in a less personal way.


Does Pirelli honestly expect regular motorists to buy Pirelli. tyres, when they wear out prematurely? Surely for their own self-preservation they need to discard the reputation of producing a product that wears out too quickly??


If you think Formula 1 tyres and the tyres that go on your car are in any way related then you need professional help… quickly.


Ah don’t be daft 🙂 You’re missing the point… why is Pirelli spending millions suppying F1 with tyres?

Simply to promote their brand name and be associated with a dynamic sport like F1. To get the name Pirelli plastered over advertising hoardings at every grand prix.

My point is simply…Pirelli are ruining their reputation / brand image because their name is mentioned in sports-news reports all over the world for all the wrong reasons!


I am both amazed and disappointed by Pirelli,s ability to blank out points raised by senior members of the racing world. So they have made tyres to the spec requested, but the format simply does not work. Why does Bernie not now instruct them to change or do something, anything to relieve the viewers from this orchestrated sham! To see all the drivers not just the ones I follow, driveing below the cars ability is not the f1 I love. Wake up and smell the coffee Pirelli, it,s over,let it go.


Ideally speaking, Paul shouldn’t have said what he did. However, Alonso “had” to and “needed” to hear this. Thank you Paul for saying the following, albeit in not so many words:

A true champion fights. He either creates opportunities to win, or if he fails, accepts defeat graciously without whining.

Which translates to this: get the Ferrari to out-think, outwit, outperform and outshine the RedBulls. If you (it’s not just you; it’s the team) can’t do that, accept that you were beaten, but not beat. Come back stronger the following year and take the fight to your rivals with renewed vigor, year after year. If you think the team doesn’t have the right vision or the human power to envision that vision, either inspire them or leave the team.

If you’ve got weaknesses (thinking highly of yourself or feeling entitled), you’ll not only be exposed, but that very weakness will hurt your chances (Lewis Hamilton 2011 case in point). Don’t underestimate and belittle some opponents. They may be the “new” benchmarks in the sport; not just flukes. Time and tide waits for no man, which includes men with unnecessary remarks.

On these fronts, Alonso, you never actually beat Michael, but you do have the chance to beat his protégé in Vettel, who might be an even better young Schumacher. But, you’re not going to beat him with the way you’re dealing with his dominance. You may be the best all-round driver in F1. You might even be the best out there. But, that’s just the driver side of the equation in F1. Your team and its people have to be equally as good and driven.

You were twice in teams that were going places. Renault gave you 2 WDC. I think you personally gave yourself a bit too many in the head, which came to haunt you at McLaren, another team going places at the time.

The weakness I mentioned earlier made you leave McLaren and waste two years at Renault which could’ve got you WDC’s. In contrast, Vettel got a drive at RedBull and has fully capitalized on it, getting close to his 4th. If one believes in the idea that one makes his own luck, you clearly ruined yours all by yourself, Alonso. Now, hush!


“A true champion fights. He either creates opportunities to win, or if he fails, accepts defeat graciously without whining.”

So what are you saying? 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher complained about the tyres. 3-time (fairly certain to be 4) world champion Vettel complained about the tyres. 2-time world champion Alonso is complaining about the tyres. Hamilton, ditto. I’d be surprised if Button and Kimi have not expressed dis-satisfaction also.

So are you saying there are no true champions on the current grid?


I didn’t say the test of a champion rests on their views about tires.

Alonso finished on the podium 3 times (P2) before the Korean race. He started those races from 5, 7, 9. It was the Ferrari’s good handling of the tires that got him on the podium, along with his driving ability. I don’t know whether he had issues with the tires then. He certainly didn’t go public about it. Maybe, things were going well then?

Come Korea, the Ferrari’s in trouble and his car’s not handling the tires well. This coincides with Vettel running further away with the WDC. Then, Alonso chooses to take a dig at Pirelli. It’s been the same for everybody since the tires were changed, and before that. Other teams have struggled with the tires much more than the Ferrari’s.

It is the Ferrari that can’t keep up with Red Bull. Don’t blame the tires if your house is in disorder. Some teams are getting them to work, some are not. Don’t blame the tires if a drinks company with a boy driver is beating an established works team with a prized (and much more paid) senior driver. Accept defeat when it’s due. Alonso should be taking a dig at Ferrari (not publicly), rather than the tires.

To ensure proper rubber is made, use FOTA to lobby FIA.

I’m not fond of the tires, myself, but that’s not relevant now.


If you dont like Alonso you need to at least listen to Webber,Shumacher,Hamilton!!! These guys are all experienced and know how to drive a car. My fear is someone will get hurt because of a tire failure and then………………. Flat spot on Perez’s car caused the blow of the tire really???? Come on


Alonso said the truth about the obvious quality of tyres and he pointed out that is the same for everybody. The nonsense rush of Hembery probably responds a partial view of that declarations suggested by a journalist. A kind of ..”Alonso Attacked Pirelli quality or similar”. It’s typical to have a good lines and keep rolling in the F1 circus. If not, Pirelli has bad rubbers & worst manners.


Fix your crappy tyres instead of attacking Alonso Mr Pirelli.


and hembery apparently has apologised to alonso. so he should. he took a cheap shot and is now forced to back off. a classic example of blow back.

is there one driver who likes/enjoys these tyres and claims that he can push 100% of the time when he wants to? no, there is not. the drivers are too often kept in the back room and their comments are subjected to the mods. not so webber and alonso. they have at least got the cojones to tell it like it is. the word ‘pathetic’ springs to mind here.


I never liked these chocolate Pirelli tires. I mean, sure, they add to the unpredictability of a race every now and then – even to the extent of it being explosive (in the literal sense!) – but the fact that all F1 teams are being supplied by only one tire manufacturer should actually make the tires a constant factor, not THE variable one. I agree with Alonso (and Schumacher, and Rosberg, and Webber, and Hamilton before him), but like he said, “it’s the same for everyone”. So right now, the burden is on him and Ferrari: either Ferrari adapt their car or Fernando continue to drive at “delta” (whatever that means).

As for Mr. Hembery: what a totally classless and arrogant thing to say! Hasn’t this guy heard of the words, “professionalism” and/or “constructive criticism”? Alonso was criticising his company’s product not him as a person, so there was no need to aim his response below the belt. Looks like someone’s been holding a grudge since Silverstone, after Pirelli took all that vitriol.

Bring back Michelin!


… and Pirelli need to ask Michelin or Bridgestone how to build tires.


Lol !!!!


On Aussie TV (channel 10), Webber explained that on the 2nd qualifying runs in Q3, when the they push harder, most drivers found the tyres “wouldn’t go there” so that’s why everyone was generally slower.

Gotta agree with Alonso here, it’s ludicrous that these tyres aren’t allowing the drivers to push 100% and use all of their talent.

Alonso does also say that he would still expect Ferrari to be off the pace if the tyres were different, so it’s hardly sour grapes.

James, should Hembry be a bit more impartial when commenting on these things? To tell Alonso to ask Vettel how to drive on these tyres is a bit disrespectful. Alonso has been epic these past few seasons, he prob deserves a bit more respect than Hembry’s response and Hembry should be seen to be as impartial as possible when commenting, no matter how much flak he cops from the drivers.


Why Hembery did not respond the same way to Red Bull and Mercedes in the beginning of the year? He should have asked these teams to go and ask Ferrari, Lotus and FI on how to build a car around the tires. Instead he was quick to change the tyres to what Red Bull was demanding. His answer to Alonso was a response of a [mod]


I think Pirelli and Hembrey in particular have become very sensitive to criticism of their high degradation tyres. – If you’re winning then no problem, if not then hard luck, and get your team to develop a car that is able to perform better with the tyres. Personally I think Alonso is just mouthing what most experienced drivers feel. – The inability to push to the maximum which is killing this sport and pisses off the drivers, indeed for them it becomes utterly boring when you can’t push. While it may keep some strategists happy, the restrained nature of the races is self evident, and comparison with past eras really does bear witness to all that is wrong with the current formula. While teams have learnt to cope with the tyres since their inception, it is like racing shackled, and becomes a tyre strategy and conservation exercise. I would welcome Michelin with open arms!


Seb was winning the title before the tyre changes, he is winning it afterwards. Theres nothing to say

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!