F1 Winter Break
Pirelli open to changing tyre choices if too conservative this year
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 May 2014   |  3:50 pm GMT  |  182 comments

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hambery has said that Pirelli did the right thing in bringing conservative tyre choices for the start of 2014, but says that they may relax this as the year goes on and predicts that the 2014 cars will soon be faster than 2013 cars in many venues.

At this stage last year Pirelli were at the centre of the story in F1, with some tyre failures which culminated in the multiple failures at Silverstone and the change of tyre specification mid season.

This year it’s been quiet on the tyre front as the focus has been on the new hybrid turbo engines, the noise they make and their effect on the racing, which is only just being evaluated now.

The four compounds are set for the year. Hembery has said this week that while the tyres have generally performed robustly, with one stop less at most venues than last season and two stops less in Spain, the company is open to bringing less conservative tyres at future races. Many teams would welcome this as they are struggling to get optimum grip from the tyres at the moment.

“Maybe sometimes we will see during the season – as the cars improve – that probably some of our choices are a bit conservative, because as they reduce the amount of wheel spin and the amount of sliding, that means that there is less problem from the tyre overheating,” he told the official Formula1.com site.

“And maybe we have to review our choices for the season going forward once we understand the effects of the rate of development of the cars.”

Many teams have struggled to get grip in races like Spain.

After the dramas of past seasons, Pirelli has been very conservative this year. They were concerned that the higher torque of the 2014 engines would cause significant problems with the high degradation family of tyres they were using in F1, so in Hembery’s words they “took a step back” this year.

The 2014 Pirelli was designed and produced without ever running on the car it was designated to be used by, a strange phenomenon caused by the radical rule change for this year.

With teams focussed at the start of the year on sorting out the hugely complex new hybrid turbo power units, it has taken time for them to be able to focus on getting the most from the tyres. Hembery says that some teams are now getting stuck into that work,

“We have already seen today that teams are starting to work to maximize tyre performance,” he said. “At the start of the season they clearly had other challenges. Now starts the detailed work with the teams that we’ve seen in previous years.

“My guess is that at the end of the season we will see cars lapping quicker than we have seen last year.”

A combination of the conservative tyres and a significant reduction in downforce with the banning of exhaust blowing led to the pole time in Spain being set 4.5 seconds slower than 2013 and back marker times being comparable with GP2.

This week four teams took part in testing development tyres with some work carried out on 2015 ideas. Sauber and Toro Rosso tested on the first day, with Force India and McLaren running test tyres on day two.

In the days following the Silverstone test, Ferrari, Lotus, Red Bull and Marussia will test for Pirelli.

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Anyone more technologically inclined know who will benefit or who will be hurt the most from the more aggressive choice of tyre compounds in the 2nd half of the season? Anyone?

Will the Mercs get poles again and then move backwards in the race?


That would be about my guess. At the moment I feel that Red Bull and Mercedes are the two teams with sufficient downforce to keep the tyres in the operating temperature range just through aerodynamic load. Generally the harder the tyre the higher the designed operating temperature. Making the tyres softer would mean that the gap in qualifying would stay about the same but the gap in the races would reduce as the greater downforce would wear out the tyres more quickly.


Isn't this just opening the door for potential problems again? I'd suggest pirelli to see the philosophy they used in 2012 because the tyres gave the teams a headache to understand.... But were still safe... And still gave us a really good season.

Or give them free reign to develop even more innovative tyres and be done with "only 4 compounds types brought to each race" rule. Still keep the tyre rules for teams because I like that added element of strategy


I am, for the first time since Pirelli entered the sport again, really delighted by the tires.

The cars are wiggling with their tails (also because of the huge torque), the tires degrade progressively, but not too fast, so you still get a decent undercut. They seem to allow two and three stop strategies that are about as fast as the other, with the three stopper only being marginally faster (which is excellent), which gets us a good strategic range. There are not so many stops that you start go get problems following the race.

The tires seem to have, for the first time, a proper temperature window (albeit still a bit too narrow, but way better than in the last seasons) and they seem to leave less marbles on the track (which is good too) and the inters and wets have a good crossover point.

I'd say the tires are almost spot on this year!

If something could be changed then it would be a wider temperature window, more protection against overheating and even less marbles to widen the racing lines.

If that's not possible, they better keep the tires as they are now.


I for one hope they abandon conservatism, to bring some more speed and differing pace through strategy over whole races.


Me too.......let's hope the teams and FIA give Pirelli carte blanche..............


If they give the teams the "better" tyres that the article suggests will we see the drivers continue to fight the cars through corners?

Can cars lap quicker while still challenging a drivers car control ability?

I will be sad if the cars suddenly turn into railway trains like they have been in the past.


This whole story with Pirreli highly degrading tyres is disgusting & shameful for the sport. I've never seen anyone who would intentionally do worse product than can be produced. I thought the esence of this or any sport was to be better (!!), higher, faster. Just stop this artificial gimmicks (highly degrading tyres, double finale....) cos it insults me as a sport/F1 fan.


In moto gp the aim is to have the tyres wear out before the end of the race as being able to keep the tyres going longer or keep your bike on the track when the tyres are shot is a big skill, bigger than it is in f1. In fact there have been calls by a lot of fans to have softer tyres that don't last as long as they believe it is too easy now. Valentino Rossi who is infamous for his performance in the last few laps as he could eek out that extra performance has not been doing as well and some fans blame it on the tyres.

The bullet proof tyres that they use to have in f1 meant that tyre management was not necessary any more and driver's were not using a skill set that is prevalent in almost every other form of motorsport. I like the tactical battle that the tyres create and can lead to interesting moments towards the end of the race. Can the driver hold on till the end of the race? Does the driver who pitted late have enough laps to catch the driver in front? Without the tyres the race would probably be over by the 5th lap


The durability of the tyre is inversely proportional to the potential speed you can get out of it. They could produce a tyre that would last the whole race, but the race would be 4 hours long. What I would like to see is a tyre war between two manufacturers. That would bring back some fun.


wow, just came across this old post. didn't realise it would be so controversial. Of course it is true that the faster you go the more you wear the tyre. Roseberg's drive at Russia 2014 showed everyone that it is possible to produce a tyre to last an entire race - but it hardly produced an exciting spectacle as he sought to nurse the tyre throughout the entire race. As for the 4 hours, yes, sometimes I use hyperbole to make a point!


4 hours? What's that, extreme exaggeration to make a point, or just plain silly talk?


Not necessarily. They could produce a tire that can last a whole race .... and still be incredibly quick. Ask Bridgestone.


Well that's just not an accurate statement is it? How many times in the past did we see sauber in particular run the whole race on one set of tyres and change to the option at the last possible lap. Either do some simple research or don't make sensationalist statements like a tabloid.


Sauber and some other team did this a few years ago actually, can't remember the race and year from the top of my head but certainly did happen in the past. Would spend time on digging you the info if I have time but sadly I'm too busy here to do the research. If you don't mind and can spare the time, you can probably Google or Wiki it.


BS. Tyres had to last the whole race in 2003, and the 2 h race time limit was never in danger then.

Tyre wars are extremely expensive, and I can't see them happening now.

IMHO the current tyres are just right for the sport. The focus has moved away from tyres, tyres, tyres (and once more tyres) to cars, drivers and strategies. It is as it should be.

Less publicity for Pirelli, sure, but then, no bad publicity either.


"Open to changing tyre choices if Red Bull ask them to" more like. There's nothing wrong with the show so far, why do Pirelli want to interfere again?


Agree. Pirelli stop just stop trying to grab focus and ruin things.


This person says the is nothing wrong with the show,this f1 stinks,gp2 cars were faster than half of the field in Spain.


If you don't like the current F1 why do you torture yourself?

Watch something else or turn off your tv.


Because the tyres are VERY hard and slow. other than Merc and maybe RB, no one could even heat the hard tyres up in Spain..!


That problem will solve itself when the teams find more speed, which they will.


I think the tyres are about spot on this year. I'm sick of hearing of tyres every weekend. If anything I'd make the tyres more harder to make them slide and even harder for the drivers to control. Drivers are working harder than they have for years in the corners this year.


Here is an idea- let the teams vote for the tires they want at the remaining GPs (as long as logisically there is enough time to execute). Pirelli takes the votes and the leading vote getter is the prime, second place is the option and we can stop talking about Pirelli... Please!


Well said, there are already Supersofts, Softs, Mediums and Hards. Just go one step lower for the remaining races or have the teams vote on it.


Starting to get annoyed with this constant changing of the tyres. Its moving the goal posts which will give some teams an advantage over the others..... Please leave them alone for the season, then do what ever you want!

I still can't understand why we must have tyres that wear out/degrade when the sport is trying to 'look' green..... surely one grade tyre for qualy and another for the whole race is 'greener'? And allow refuelling to create pit stops with the 100kg limit still in place. Oh and DRS for the chasing car at all times..... then the drivers could at least drive flat out and attack without worrying about the tyres.


I don't think you read the post closely

That isn't the story!


Everyone's had enough of Pirelli from past years and would jump at the moment the name Pirelli or Paul Hambery is mentioned.


James that happened to a lot of people in this post, not because the article is unclear, but it seems that many people here is traumatized by the tyre episode of last year I guess. by the way, could you make a post about how this year compounds have affected the performance, we just saw a Marussia in front of Hamilton because they were in supersofts, it seem to me that a small change in the compound affects the performance by seconds something that doing it with the engine is a lot difficult.


Tyres are fine we don't want what happened at Silverstone last year where we had multiple blow outs.

Lost Hamilton a win & caused no end of worry.

Put drivers in a dangerous position. Flying high speed projectiles from rapid tyre deflation. We don't want debris dodgems & safety car deployments all over again. Creating artficial excitement in F1 is making a mockery of honest racing.

We also need a second tyre manufacturer to compete against Perelli. Just to keep them honest too. No more tyre design changes if the tyres are ok. They should be locked in for 2014 (if they are working well). Change them for next season with safety in mind.

Still reckon refuelling was an exciting part of pit dynamics.



The cars & drivers have been the story of F1 in 2014. I don't care if the lap times are a few seconds slower than last year, the cars can't be allowed to go faster every year for safety reason.

Should Pirelli stick silly rubber on the cars, we'll be back to tyres being the story. That will lead to yet another viewer switch off, because we'll be hearing the same nonsense about lapping to target times to preserve tyres.

We don't need more fiddling with the show, it doesn't work, dropping viewer numbers prove we don't want to watch contrived racing.


You obviously did not hear the "nonsense" on the coverage from Spain.

Tyre management has ALWAYS been a part of strategy, regardless of the year, brand or compound. To think otherwise is certainly nonsensical.


I think the drop in viewing numbers has much more to do with f1 being behind a pay wall in most countries now


And I'd say the sound mixing on TV still needs some improvement. Just look at the on board coverage from Canal+, and have a listen: The mics sound pretty muffled, I sense there is a lot of room for improvement there:


As for the cameras on the track: Why is it so hard to get microphones that are a little more directional? I guess a simple parabolic plate behind the Microphone could even help. It's not that there are a few thousand cameras on the track and that Formula 1 can't afford updating some hardware.


So maybe Mercedes hasn't solved the tires issues they had last years but lobbying with Pirelli to get harder tires to make them last better?

If it was RedBull instead of Mercedes, this would surely been talked about a lot more.

anyways...F1 is in real trouble with there rule makers...obviously not seeing the complete picture while making rules

Cars running around with trumpets on there exhausts...its a joke...has to be...did they seriously not see this coming? then they are oblivious to what they are actually doing.

Anyways, looking forward to Monaco, maybe they can actually push and race instead of only do the normal managing which our F1 racing has turned into

F1 racing now F1 management - Thats what LeMans is for...


As I see it mercs have the best tyre wear of the field. Probably because their car slides the least in the field.


Which could be because they get the heat in there tires faster as others, thus having good grip.

But on a softer tire, like last years, they ware them out faster.


Hell, no . . .

For god’s sake, Pirelli, don’t do a 2013 on us.



For once, please let the tires just be a part of the car and not a deciding factor in a race/championship.

It's been so nice this season not hearing constant fire fighting from Pirelli

Mike Martin(HAM fan)

Why not bring all different tire types to every race? This way a driver could choose himself what to use during the race. Off-course they will all have the same amount available but we could see some great fights between gamblers and conservative drivers. Someone choose supersoft and hard while the other driver chooses supersoft and soft,while maybe another driver is on mediums and hards.

Thinks it will lead to more fighting on the track but also to more drama. Might be cool.

German Samurai

I like that idea.

As James says the costs will be too much.

Before the weekend, teams get to choose 2 of the 4 compounds they want.


Actually I do like the idea!

Every team may choose from the available compounds but its limited to the same amount of tyres per race as it is now.

This would make life easier for everyone, except the shipping costs would slightly raise. But for the next race, Pirelli would only have to produce the tyres which were used.


Imagine the cost and logistics of having choice of 4 compounds for 22 drivers for whole weekend !!


This would be a cost I'd enjoy... I don't enjoy millions and millions spent in wind tunnels, CFD computers and suimulators. Fans watch the cars on the track- not in the lab. I'd guess the cost of tires to be insignificant in comparison to the rest of the circus.


Teams could declare their tyre choices after the pre-season test, say for first 10 races. They can still be compelled to two compounds + wet option.


I was wondering, James, what was the logistical footprint/imposte of providing the extra set of tyres for the opening 30 mins of FP1? How much has that impacted Pirelli by going to that length? Obviously it's not a case of Pirelli providing a full allocation of a specific compound of tyre, but it must have had a significant impact on their operational costs.

James Clayton

Well Pirelli might save a couple of million dollars if they didn't insist on burning up and recycling all the unused tyres for each event.

Anyway, Mike's plan could be adjusted slightly to let the teams choose in advance; though if a team made a bum choice they'd be screwed for the entire weekend.

James Clayton


Well maybe Pirelli could better spend their time and money investing in technology to prevent tyres "age"ing, rather than wasting millions investing in ways to make them artificially s***.


james , it's clear you were never in the tyre business

you think tyres don't 'age ' ?

James Clayton


Not if you don't change compounds throughout the year; and give the tyres to the teams in sealed containers.


regretfully it's the only way to ensure that every team gets exactly the same tyre at a given race , a level playing field is critical


Could be worse James; when a team makes a bum choice regarding the engine they're screwed for the entire year 🙂


You mean compared to the cost of developing fabulously complicated new engine systems that add absolutely nothing interesting for spectators?

Besides, tyre choice seemed to work just fine in the 80s James.

Made for much more interesting racing.


4 compounds for 22 drivers for whole weekend !!

.... only to have it rain 🙂


Lol 🙂

kenneth chapman

@ james....surely it could be better managed by having the teams make their choices some weeks out. i simply feel that pirelli should not be making the decisions on what tyres are used by the individual teams. pirelli should not be in such a position of influence in WC series.


pirelli should not be in such a position of influence in WC series.



I heard a comment on italian TV that there is the idea of letting each team freely choose 2 of 4 compounds in advance for each event at the beginning of the season or a in suitable timeframe before the GP to allow Pirelli to produce and bring the tyres to the venue.

That would potentially bring great differences in race/qualify strategies allowing teams to take different approach (i.e. conservative or risky) and (maybe) produce better racing.

Do you think is it a viable approach and would it make sense?


Hi James,

I completely get your point, but I was wondering how they used to cope with this back in the late 80's/early 90's?

I seem to remember that there were about 40 cars at times, you could run any compound (A to D) you wanted on each corner of the car, plus qualifying tyres. You also had no limitation on the number of sets of tyres per weekend - if you wanted new tyres every time you left the pits you could do it.

I guess there were fewer fly-away races, but even so, I don't believe the logistics today would be worse than what I mention above.


Imagine the costs at remaking the tyres! Or do they mean they might consider changing which tyre they take to certain circuits??


They could still bring the same quantity of tyres James, only split the allocation 4 ways.

For example, 3 sets of each compound and let the teams run them however they like.


James, I thought teams and drivers had a lot more leeway on tire selection back in the 70s and 80s. Am I off the mark?


Martin Brundle was saying , in his day, they ran the cars with mixed compounds , eg hard front left and the others a softer compound on a circuit like Bracelona.


I think the teams and circuits fork out enough to the FIA to cover the costs, and a large company like Pirelli should be able to manage the logistics, but imagine the possibilities for strategy variations, on track action and mixed results 🙂

It's worth thinking about.

Mike Martin(HAM fan)

It would be the same amount of tires as they bring now. The driver choose his tires before the race. There are also loads of tires that are being recycled and are not even used. That's far more worse.

As I said, gamblers and conservative players.


I'd say Perelli have got it perfect these opening races.

When dry, there has always been a split between 2 and 3 stops, and there is a clear speed benefit to stopping for fresh tyres, but without the overly dramatic 'falling off a cliff' in performance.


Totally agree.

What we have is a culture of complaint. The good news is that a backlash is brewing.


No I don't think that is a good idea at all. That is to say it is only good for people interested in strategy, but if you are interested in proper wheel to wheel racing then we need a reasonably durable tyre. Increased grip for a short spell is only any use in qualifying, but not for the race.


" but if you are interested in proper wheel to wheel racing "

Don't watch F1.


The tires are fine (finally after 3 years of a complete messed up situation being served to us by Pirelli and Mr. Hembrey who thinks his company carries the responsibility to spice up the show).

Me thinks that Mr. Hembrey doesn´t feel comfortable out of the spotlight.

So: No, No and No!


Yes of course the tyres this year are spot on. There's no need to change it at all... unless Mercedes starts losing then if the tyres are like how it is would be a complete sham and Pirelli would be smashed to pieces by the british press.


U seem to be stuck in rbr's 2013 dilemma


Which is?


I think most of you who have commented on this article so far didn't really understand the actual plan. Pirelly won't change the compounds. They would just make less conservative choices of current compounds for upcoming races.


I feel a bit for pirelli, damed if they do, damed if they dont....too much bad press and they will quit...not that many tyre suppliers around


Also lets be honest the only ones moaning about low grip are those losing, 2 stops is about right dont want 4 stops again daft

Thread the Needle

Not all this crap again about changing tyres, Pirelli shouldn't be near F1


Read the piece

They aren't saying they will change the tyres

They are saying they might bring less conservative compound choices to races later in the year eg soft/medium instead of medium/hard

roberto marquez

Would it be possible that doing this nobody could end a race ? What would happen then ?

kenneth chapman

one word james.....manipulation.


This is just Pirelli looking for some attention.

Last year, they were constantly in the headlines and seemed to love every minute of it. All the attention they generated and got in 2013 made them feel relevant, and the seem to be missing that so far thia year.

This seems to be the only reason for this nonsensical statement by Hembery, and Pirelli seems not to have learnt their lesson.

David in Sydney

Don't they realise they were in the news all the time for exactly the wrong reasons?


Did it really look to you like hembery was enjoying the spotlight last year??? To me it really looked like he was under a lot of pressure dealing with stick from all directions...

Anyway he's not talking about changing the tyres just being less conservative in the choice of compounds he brings to the race.


What? They were ready to quit in 2013! This is them saying we went with conservative choices so far as we expected the teams to struggle with torque and burn the tyres out but now they are more advanced they are struggling to warm the tyres up so maybe they should switch to more super soft/medium races rather than soft/hard etc. it's not a publicity stunt - that's Pirelli doing their bloody job!


Dear Mr. Hembery,

Please take on board all the experience and data from 2014 to develop the compounds to suit the 2015 cars (which should be a bit more stable development-wise) before you go changing anything.

By your own admission you say the 2014 cars might be quicker than the 2013 cars soon, so if you err toward the 2013 spec tyres don't you think you might end up in the same situation again?

We know that the 2014 formula isn't perfect but that isn't your fault or responsibility - don't go making the FIA's problems your problems.

You've done a good job with the tyres this year so keep up the good work, leave well enough alone, and we'll see you again in 2015.

Kind regards, Random 🙂


He isn't talking about changing the spec of the tyres just which compounds they bring to the race....


It doesn't say they would go to 2013 spec tyres. It says they would consider moving from soft and hard to super soft and medium for example. The article doesn't say anything about changing the tyre compounds design - just giving the softer options to allow more grip and faster warmups so cars aren't tip-toeing too much. They've clearly got a handle on the design faster than anyone anticipated.


You're right, but even though they're not changing the construction or the actual compounds themselves going more aggressive in the tyre choices while the cars are still a bit of a moving target might still cause them similar problems to last year.

I don't think it will be as extreme as tyres exploding, but hypothetically if Red Bull pushed development and managed to close the gap to Mercedes by the end of season after Pirelli change the tyre choices then people will cry Pirelli interference again.

I can't speak for everyone, but I think they should just make a decision on how they want to approach the tyre choices and stick with it for the year.



Agreed, it's a good idea. There's seems to be a couple ideas like that from fans going around at the moment so if the FIA are interested in the least in what we think then I think they should be considering it - as you said it should lead to more interesting races.

As long as it's the teams choosing their preferences rather than Pirelli (so there's no calls of favouritism) then it should work.

@C63 Cheers 🙂



I can’t speak for everyone, but I think they should just make a decision on how they want to approach the tyre choices and stick with it for the year....

As long as you say things like that, I am happy for you to speak for me. +1


I agree they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. Personally I think they need the FIA to give some flexibility and allow teams to choose wider options and let them live with their choices.

The 2014 spec tyres are already at least one step 'harder' than the 2013 spec and they at least have some in-season testing to check their figures (which was banned in 2013 and earlier).

I admit I quite liked the FIA stipulation that they all submit gear ratios and then get a 'joker' to play if they screw up. The same format with tyre compounds would add a sense of 'global' strategy to the competition. And as long as it was optioned in advance, I suspsect Pirelli would accomodate - as this would make them look good and give very mixed grids - with lower teams taking punts on fast opening stints and quali runs, but bigger teams opting for stability and final positions. After all - regardless of who we support - don't we all mostly want mixed grids and the occasional surprise result? I know I don't mind seeing the unusual Force India or Sauber podiums because they made a smart call - rather than they got £300 million in sponsorship before they can challenge for a spot...


Please make the tyres quieter.


Lol Good one


Ha ha, best comment


This is slightly off topic, but sort of related but, as Pirelli sponsor F1 (as such), I've always wondered about the murky world of F1 and sponsorship finance.

Here's my queston: If team X have a sponsorship budget of say UK £150 million, but end up spending "only" UK £140 million, what happens to the spare UK £10 million? Do the teams give it back? Do they keep it, and post it as "profit"? Could that UK £10 million be used a tax write off??????

Motor sport, and F1 in particular has the potential to present ways of loosing money through the books. If you need a component for your road car, there is always a price list. There is no price list for a works F1 car. If an F1 team say a pair of wishbones cost UK £900, then that is what they cost even if in reality they actually only cost UK £500. If a team says wishbones need to be changed after every race, but in reality they are changed after every two races that is UK £1800 in the books, but UK £500 in reality. That means UK £1400 has been lost, and every car has four corners!

I know that sounds like a lack of transparency, but F1 people are not called (fiscal) sharks for nothing..................


That’d make sense if any of the teams were profitable but most are running close to a deficit every season as the costs explode. To be honest the teams will always find ways to spend extra money – whether it’s on advertising, factory rebuilds, hiring new staff, paying star driver bonuses, etc. As with any sport sponsorship is basically a marketing advert ‘rate’ card – it’s not saying, ‘your money will pay for this many wishbones or batteries’ it’s not a charity pledge. It’s just a sale – it is profit and operational cost. It’s basically selling an association. So theoretically if the team made a £10 million ‘profit’ from sponsorship that would be declared as a profit – they aren’t charities and this is just income – it’s like selling logo caps and t-shirts just on a titanic scale.


RE Aura F1: Thanks for the info. The world of F1 sponsorship is a very clandestine and murky operating environment!


RE Aura F1: Personally I think a team manager's/team principal's ability to secure or attract sponsors and their big juicy pay cheques is just as important as managing the team.

I remembering post comments that the majority of the European and English speaking countries either have to pay to watch live F1 races or even if they have free coverage it is delayed highlights (ala the BBC in the UK). On that basis, is sponsorship of an F1 team really value for money in the sense that the majority of the customer base in Europe and English speaking countries doesn't have live access to the races??????


It is relatively murky, but not really more than many professional sports franchises. I mean at least with high-tech F1 you can see why teams need to pay for world class aero facilities and bespoke machining solutions - I personally think the hundreds of millions poured into - say - football are a lot murkier! I mean how many chiropractors can you hire at £30 million a pop?


I'm not sure I see your point.

F1 teams are commercial operations not charities or quangos. Some are listed companies (Williams F1). They sell sponsorship packages just as tv stations sell advertising slots. That forms their income along with anything they get from FOM in sporting income and any other commercial interests they have.

Teams spend money on personnel, car development, operations and logistics.

The whole point is for the income to exceed their costs!


RE Tony: My point is if a team is lucky enough at the end of the season to have a fiscal surplus (from the sponsorship) do they declare that surplus as profit or give it back to their commercial partners - but having seen the likes of Sauber, Lotus and even Macca post operating losses I think most teams would be delighted just to save UK £1000 at the moment!


REC63: Yes, Macca posting a loss (for the financial year 2012/2013 I think) is somewhat strange given their fiscal "indulgences" - like you mentioned, road car production facilities.

Interesting you mentioned that side of Macca's business - I don't always agree with Eddie Jordan - particularly on his gruesome choice of shirts - but I do agree with EJ when he mentioned on the BBC Forum in Barcelona that McLaren are being side tracked by road car production at the cost of racing success.


If a team makes a surplus or profit. It sits in "retained earnings" in their balance sheet. Which means they can use it in future years /attract more investors. I doubt very much they would return any sponsorship funds but they may lower their advertising costs if they have secured more long term investors in future years.The way F1 teams operate on maximum expenditure it never lasts long even for the few that make it. Except probably Williams whos public shareholders would essentially want dividends. But even then if the company's core business is winning GP's,Its sole aim is to improve or win at some point which means if it hasn't spent every dollar its not going forward. This is the gripe the smaller teams have as the big teams can just keep throwing more money/ technology or headcount from their car operations, fizzy drink, or billionaires play money even when their F1 teams are running losses.If real budgets came in- you would isolate those "transactions" , put a price on everything that is passed over and this is where they are saying its too hard. Its not too hard if the FIA appoint independent auditors to do it and the end result is the big teams would maybe learn to be more efficient on the financial side of things. Lotus are probably the true mid point and they have proved they can be super competitive but ironically just like the business world most medium sized companies looking to compete at the very top either take the leap of faith to grow in size or shrink back & continue to offer a niche alternative making them attractive to merge/take-over- is this where we are at with Lotus ?.


and even Macca post operating losses .

Sounds like clever accounting to me - how do they build and fund something like the MTC if they aren't making any money? They recently built a whacking great extension to manufacture the road cars as well.

McLaren remind me of farmers - always moaning they have no money. You never see a farmer on a bike though, do you?


PS Do Pirelli have the same financial relationship with all the teams? Goodyear used to supply certain top teams with free tyres, I think Michelin did the same in the late 70s/early 80s with Ferrari, Renault and Macca, and I would imagine when the Michael-Ross-Rubens-Ferrari dream team was dominating F1 Bridgestone was considered an equal partner to the Scuderia.

Also, Pirelli are in a Catch 22 situation - damned if the tyres are too hard and damned if the tyres are too soft. Perhaps they need the Goldilocks in the middle tyre compound that is just right!


I think the financial support thing was probably only when they used to have multiple suppliers / tyre war, you know when ferrari had the magic tyres lol

Dont seem to make sense to give certain teams free tyres etc others not


what about the magic michelins that won the WDC for alonso in 2005/6 ?

single supplier gives a level playing field now that pirelli are allowed to test properly to check their prototypes ; much better than when the team with the tyres tuned to their car had a huge advantage


The teams all pay Pirelli a set fee. The only 'free' tyres are demonstration and test tyres which Pirelli accept the cost of. Logistics seems to be taken by Pirelli themselves.


Double points at the last race, a return of tires falling off a cliff, is a sure way in hell, to get fans to say bye, bye to F1.


They are saying that maybe for some races instead of using medium/hard they could use soft/medium, they won't change the compound, many teams in Barcelona claimed for low grip and said that Pirelli was too conservative, I don't think that is bad if teams are asking about that.


I'm not too sure if this is such a great idea. While the racing hasn't primarily been about the tyres this year I feel the undercut has still been too significant, and bringing tyres a step softer than originally planned would surely only increase this. I don't think a race should be won because someone gained track position by pitting a lap early and gaining 4 seconds (may be a little excessive on the figures).


Oh no!

It's been a breath of fresh air to see real racing again these last 5 GP! Who in their right mind would want to go back to the tyre management championship of the previous 4 years!

Unless of course this is essentially just a Red Bull rescue plan.

David in Sydney

Now there's a point...


Lets get "road-relevant".

Lets just have one compound for all races and a tire that'll last the whole race if desired.



Did they ever find the root cause of all the Silverstone Tyre Failures last year?

There was speculation about a suspect Curb.

Tyres mounted the wrong way, and talk of extreme cambers and pressures.

Its hard to fix a problem unless you understand the causes.

Mike from Colombia

What about the rubbish tyres theory...seems much more likely.


Sad Fact but Tyres wear out, I know big shock to every-one.

Soft tyres = Faster Lap time = Faster wear

Hard Tyres = Slower Lap ime = Longer wear

always has been always will be.

Why were all the failures on rear lefts?

and why were all the failures on tyres mounted the wrong way round?


After five races they seem to have noticed nobody calling "Pirelli", unlike last season. They simply are seeking attention!


So we've not heard too much about pirelli this year and up pops some controversial plan and puts them back in the headlines. Great marketing strategy - all publicity is good publicity after all!


There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about at all.


This smells of RedBull...


More like the fact that you can't or didn't read the post properly.


I did read it properly. Just because it's Pireli saying that their tire choice has been conservative doesn't mean that RB is not pressuring them behind closed doors. With DM threatening to leave the sport it makes total sence. I'm not saying it's a fact, but it's a viable notion


F1 is in danger of rendering itself silly. What combination of design freezes and arbitrary adjustments, hey let's eff with the rubbers again!, will finally go far enough to make us laugh out loud? Give it up please, Mercedes has won 2014, and the geniuses that set up the rules may now take their comeuppance, empty seats. Good on ya', doofuses.


Sounds a bit like Paul is a bit upset that know one is talking tires this year so put out a headline graber.


But the teams are talking about Pirelli - they all (other than Mercedes) started saying the tyre choice was too conservative in Barcelona - we had many drivers suggesting Pirelli were keeping them at GP2 speeds. So they are only responding to criticism. Basically Pirelli are screwed - if they bring harder compounds the teams struggling to warm up decry bias and point to GP2 - if they bring softer tyres the teams managing tyre deg scream bias and point towards red bull (or whoever) suddenly going faster.

Craig in Manila

Ahh, Pirelli.

Just when we were all starting to talk about trumpets and (generally) everyone seems content with the tyres, out they come with a comment to the media that reminds everyone that they reserve the right to alter tyres to suit particular circumstances/cars etc etc.

You'd think they would have learned by now that sometimes it's better to just say nothing at all.

I particularly like the use of "maybe", "probably" and "guess" in the comments by their representative. Nice.


They didn't say anything about changing the tyres, read the article.

Craig in Manila

Yes, I know.

Read my comment (please).


Doesn't sound like it

"out they come with a comment to the media that reminds everyone that they reserve the right to alter tyres to suit particular circumstances/cars etc etc."


Pirelli always a few steps behind. They do not seem to have the confidence in their product to provide the safest , fastest tyres to each circuit and Barcelona was evidence of this.

After 3 pre season tests & 4 races most teams believed the hard compounds were not ideal neither did I. I understand no one wants a repeat of 2013 but surely there has been lot of "water under the bridge since" and many things done to strengthen the tyres and circumvent that from happening.I appreciate we would have had 3-4 stops instead of 2-3 but given how quick the stops are, the strategies would be equally interesting.

I dont mind a bit of sliding but I dont want F1 to be about which driver can keep his car on track ( & if F1 is not about the fastest cars point to point its just not F1 is it??)- if your excited about that go watch rally or even speedway- hey you'l probably like the engine sound better too..


I think Pirelli just can't stay without the spotlight shinning on them for all the negative reasons. They have done a good job this season, they should please leave the tyers alone.

David in Sydney

Dear Pirelli, just want you to know that after all the tyre fuss over the past few years I'll never shod my car in Pirelli tyres. Bridgestones, Dunlops, Goodyears, Falkens - but not Pirellis.


Good point, from a promotional point of view Silverstone last year must have been a disaster marketing wise for Pirelli.

"Buy our tyres..............oh, but remember the sidewall will explode if you run the pressures too low.........."


I think these people come up with these stupid suggestions because F1 fans don't riot.


Easily fixed: You find some pitchforks and I'll grab the lanterns 🙂


...or rather that the majority of current F1 fans seem to be rather dim and didn't read or can't understand what the post said.

kenneth chapman

or rather by bringing a softer compound tyre into the weekend mix we will see even more 'marbles'...yeah great idea!!!


The majority of F1 fans see this:

Tyre company: "Ahh! We make excellent tyres!"

Shifty client: "Can you make rotten tyres?"

Tyre company: "Yes sir! Rotten tyres are us!"

Its either a case of shocking ineptitude on the part of the tyre company, or someone is planning to shock us with a disingenuous ventriloquy argument.

Principles matter.

F1 fans can spot stupid attention seeking conflicts that kill the sport.


"F1 fans can spot stupid attention seeking conflicts that kill the sport."

Not from where I sit they can't.

kenneth chapman

pirelli have not done a great job this season. have you seen the piles of marbles that the current crop are shedding? ridiculous. brundle even went so far as to call the 'line' through the marbles as a 'goat track'!! how apt.

i want to see michelin in the mix then we will really see where the tyres are going performance wise.


Agree, they've had rules written to protect them, theyve had far more testing, in far more relevant conditions and still they are not sure of their product..Its bizarre, can you imagine if a communications co failed F1 what would happen- yet the most important 'contact' in the sport is treated with such a free reign.


People who wants harder tires forget that fact that these tires need a certain temp to function at all. What is the point of having 700+ hp or the sophisticated technology if there is no grip and the cars are undriveable. Some sliding is fun to watch, I agree. But, if half of the field cannot switch the tires on than the race is determined by the tires, too much. Just as if they are too soft.


So, I see most people are slaggin' Pirelli off again!

Well done Paul H & co... everything that the FIA (and as a consequence the teams) have asked for, you have provided. And in so doing you have taken a lot of unwarranted flak - other tyre companies would have done a runner.

Forza Pirelli!

[And no, I am not a Pirelli employee... however if they wish to send me some new P7 Cinturato's I am more than happy to accept them, my address is... ;-)]

James Clayton

"other tyre companies would have done a runner"

Yes. Because it was a stupid brief that no serious company would touch with a barge pole!


All that PH is saying is that they are open to suggestion. If the teams want soft/medium instead of medium/hard for the race weekend in question thn it can be agreed upon and arranged. No conspiracy theory here


Its amusing to see how many readers misread the story including myself.... its seems that: *Pirelli + Hembrey + change + less conservative* triggers everyone into screaming NOOO!


That'd make sense if any of the teams were profitable but most are running close to a deficit every season as the costs explode. To be honest the teams will always find ways to spend extra money - whether it's on advertising, factory rebuilds, hiring new staff, paying star driver bonuses, etc. As with any sport sponsorship is basically a marketing advert 'rate' card - it's not saying, 'your money will pay for this many wishbones or batteries' it's not a charity pledge. It's just a sale - it is profit and operational cost. It's basically selling an association. So theoretically if the team made a £10 million 'profit' from sponsorship that would be declared as a profit - they aren't charities and this is just income - it's like selling logo caps and t-shirts just on a titanic scale.


I would estimate that approximately 90% of the comments above have been written without actually reading, understanding, digesting and comprehending the actual article....

Similarly, all the gumph spouted by journo's and keyboard commentators about the Mercedes exhaust... COMPLETELY missing the joke and taking it 100% seriously

C'mon people, learn how to read (a)properly when required to, and (b) between the lines



In my opinion, as long as Pirelli developed a grippy and durable tyre, no-one could really complain.

The only matter up for discussion then is how many laps/what mileage the tyres should last for.

Entire race distance? 1/3 race distance? 1/2 race distance? 2/3? 3/4?

Personally, I tend to lean towards a full race distance of max. 200 miles, because;

a) it keeps the racing on track, removing all this undercut nonsense

b) if a driver gets an instruction to "save tyres," he will get overtaken

c) it saves on tyre costs - no 2 or 3 different sets for a race - just 1.

d) itll me more "road relevant"

e) strategy - there will still be an element of this as a driver may favour going easy on the tyre during one phase of the race in favour of spanking it during another.

f) if all sets available for the weekend are designed to do 200 miles, you can reduce the number of sets taken to a race weekend, therefore reducing this cost too.


Martin, the 2005 season was quite amusing from a spectator's point of view with the teams/drivers having to make one set of tyres last an entire weekend.

It also gave rise to some exciting racing - San Marino, Monaco, Europe (Nuburgring), Italy (Montoya's dodgy tyre) and especially Japan that year were all exciting races where the outcome for victory of the race literally went down to the last lap.

More of the same please!

David in Sydney

Why are they dicking around with spec tyres when two or three tyre manufacturers could be duking it out to improve the grip and fuel efficiency and durability of tyres..?

DRS, megaphones, disintegrating tyres and mandatory tyre grades just screams of faux action to me.


In my opinion it is dead wrong that Pirelli can decide what compounds they take to the track. That should be a FIA decision, or perhaps the teams, or each team for themselves, but certainly not the tyre designer, supplier.

But would that be a good idea? Taking into consideration how impotent the teams are to take joint decisions they should be left aside as a group. The FIA? Not quite a body that shows the capacity to deal with this sort of hand on things. So that leaves us with each team for themselves.

I like the idea that each team can pick their combination of tyres ahead of the races. Two compounds max, and the rest of the rules can stay the same. I assume that teams know enough of the tyre compounds and tracks to make this decision.

And to Pirelli: I like the 2014 season much better than 2013. First because of the new engines, not Red Bull at the front all the time and certainly because it is not about you anymore, not about the tyres all the time. Please stay out of the limelight.


"Taking into consideration how impotent the teams are to take joint decisions they should be left aside as a group. The FIA? Not quite a body that shows the capacity to deal with this sort of hand on things. So that leaves us with each team for themselves."

That will never happen.

kenneth chapman

exactly what i have been saying all along. well done

Kenneth M'Boy

I'm now enjoying this season. I think the racing is good, the sound is fine and it was awesome to see the cars moving around in Spain. We've seen a new crop of talented drivers come through and are also seeing the talented drivers like Kimi, Seb and Romain struggle at first but now they seem to be getting their heads around these cars.

Coming into Monaco I would rather see the cars moving around, which will add a lot of surprises hopefully. If Pirelli want to do something then keep the compounds as they are but make the rears wider. Drivers can push that bit harder with extended grip but the cars will be still be a bit loose in the tail end.

Daniel Marshall

It's curious that 90% of posters on this article seem to have got the wrong end of the stick, with many frothing at the mouth about Pirelli because they think there's going to be a tyre compound/construction change mid-season.


They are saying that bringing the current medium and hard tyre to Barcelona was a bit conservative, and for races further on in the year they may bring the current soft and medium (for example) instead.

Pretty simple, I thought.


And I agree with Pirelli to be honest. Whats the problem?

Its by miles a better way to start the tyres off conservatively at the start of the season, and then, as the season and development moves forward, move towards a more aggressive choice of tyre.

Simples :).

For next season, I personally would prefer a move towards my earlier post however, to keep the racing on track, costs down, etc etc etc


Me too...bit depressing really

Craig in Manila

I think it just shows the negative feelings "against" Pirelli still remain from last year as, clearly, a LOT of people have totally misread the comments of Paul Hembery and think (for no valid reason) that he was talking about making changes to the tyres.

Methinks Mr.Hembery and Pirelli should refrain from making any comments for just a bit longer until last year's issues fade further from memory. Perhaps all they should be saying is that "Everyone seems to be generally happy with the tyre situation at the moment and, as a result, we at Pirelli are happy too" !

Liam in Sydney

Not really. It just shows people will read a headline but won't be bothered reading the article.


OMG what is wrong with you people?

Pirelli are not talking about changing compounds to the tires,

Pirelli are suggesting bring the same tires to each race,

"BUT" instead of the say Harder ORANGE they would normally run bring instead the Medium WHITE,

"OR" lets say the Soft Yellow they would now bring the S/Soft RED,

All that is going to change is,

one tyre will be swapped for a slightly softer one,

nothing about changing compounds at all.


Still I think that the choices made so far were good ones and they should stay this way.


Just leave the tyres, they are fine.

We haven't been talking about them this year, which is as it should be.


Goodyear in the late 80's / early 90's used to bring loads of compounds to each race. Qualifiers, and then A-D spec (Hard - Soft) and then wets.

No one cared so much about the environment, costs and logisitcs back then. We have now progressed, although I don't half miss it!

Mike from Colombia

Stay out of it Pirelli. You are a disaster waiting to happen.

You messed up Formula 1 for 3 years, and now if you exclude Mercedes out front the racing is better and drivers can actually think about following the car in front.

Attention seekers. Why not try to out more effort into making better road tyres...where they are consistently trounced by Michelin and Bridgestone.

German Samurai

I thought Pirelli generally had it right, especially 2012.

I don't like seeing F1 cars struggle for grip like some GP3 car.

Bring back driver activated KERS of 7 seconds a lap, DRS is a little conservative at the moment, bring back ear splitting V8's.

Fans don't care about manufacturers. If they leave the sport so be it. Someone will fill the void. The goal needs to be engine parity like we had.

Enough with trying to appease manufacturers. If Mercedes are so concerned with hybrid technology and being 'green' then why are they still selling 6 litre V12 AMGs.

Why? Because people want a car with a sound that matches it's performances. No-one spends all that money on a car that sounds muzzles, that whines, that croaks, that sounds like a turbo charged leaf blower.

So why does F1 have to settle for these rubbish sounding cars?


"Bring back driver activated KERS "

In 2014 that's a team choice. Mercedes and some others still have an "OT" (overtake) button on the wheel that will just give you an extra boost.

Get your facts straight before complaining.


"Fans don’t care about manufacturers. If they leave the sport so be it. Someone will fill the void."

But if they leave & other manufacturer's are not interested in entering under a formula they don't see as relevant then where do the engines come from?

Would Ferrari have been able to supply the whole grid with there V8's since they were the only manufacturer interested in keeping that formula with no others showing any interest in joining?

Look around, Motorsport in general is heading down the same route as F1. Smaller capacity turbo's is what the engine builders (Not just the big manufacturer's) want to build.

Had F1 stuck with the V8 formula it would be dead to the engine builders who never wanted the V8 formula to begin with. A lot of them wanted a formula like this back in 2006 rather than the V8's we ended up with.

German Samurai

Someone would have filled the void. V8s are old technology that's relatively cheap. Honda, Cosworth, etc would supply engines. Doesn't matter who. It's F1. Not Indy Cars. An engine manufacturer will always want their name on the side of a McLaren or Red Bull.

Do you think a carbon fiber chassis and all it's aerodynamic components have any relevance to the typical road car?

As long as Ferrari is still in the championship, you could have a Sauber battling a Caterham for the championship and people will tune in if the racing is close, and the cars look fast and sound good.

The sport isn't about big works teams and never has. Ferrari, AMG Mercedes, don't offer hybrids because people want don't want them in their sports cars. They want a car that sounds as loud as it is fast.


Submitting to the teams stupifying two tread farce has made nothing but trouble for Pirelli. It's a failed concept meant only to allow the arodynamics boffins to continue to play at great expense and has not enhanced the racing at all.


Additionally, I'd like to say to Mr. Hembery that Perez's comments don't look too pathetic now, do They? In light of Pirelli's new "stance" on more aggressive tires Checo's criticisma seem spot on!!!


Ooopps! I meant criticism.


Pirelli should just continue doing what they have been doing so far this year.

The compounds are fine & there tyre choices for each race has been just about right, Don't think they have been too conservative with there choices at all.

The compounds & choices used thus far have been enough to generate some interesting strategy choices without the tyres becoming the talking point of each weekend as they did the last 2 seasons with the small operating window of 2012 & thermal degredation (And other issues) of 2013.

In short Pirelli should not change its approach in any way.


O/T, forget about tyres. Lets just go back to this, for all of you who 'quite like' the new sound and engine because you can here the tyre squeal 🙂 We can only dream



To be honest, after half of the video I've had enough of that enervating screamer. I prefer the new sound.


most of the comments in this thread are incomprehensible to me

firstly it's not pirelli who decided to use 2 compounds at each race , it's the FIA ;why ? because if there is no discussion about tyres there is no point in any manufacturer spending the money required ; that's called business

secondly , pre season , pirelli said , quite correctly , nobody knows what effect the new regs are going to have on tyre usage so we will be conservative for safety reasons , with forecasts of half the cars not finishing to begin with it's going to be mixed up enough early season

it is already clear that the teams are getting on top of reliability issues and strategies much sooner than forecast ...so pirelli are now saying they are willing to consider selecting more agressive tyres from their four compounds if that suits the show ; personally I fail to understand how that can be criticised

one poster comments that he[ she?] will never buy pirelli tyres because of their F1 tyres ; tyre manufacturers don't make public their market shares [ they all give their sales figures to an independant body who then inform them of the total market ] but industry analysts believe that they are probably the market leader in high performance tyres and that their market share is increasing ; it seems therefore that both their product and their marketing strategy are what the market demands ....eg manufacturers of high performance vehicles test exhaustively before fitting a particular tyre ...they can't afford to do otherwise , no knee jerk reaction from them , they tune their vehicle to the tyres they select

one poster even suggested that the FIA should select which compounds should be selected for a given race ; in computerspeak ROFLMAO ...what do the FIA know about the tyres ?

james's article is , as normal , clearly written ; I am not surprised that he is depressed by the responses he has received from so many


You are the one missing the point. We DON'T care about the synthetic "show" as you do.

The fact that an easy majority of the fans here have reacted very negatively to any tinkering from Pirelli, should tell you a lot.

We want racing that's by teams and drivers; we really really don't care about the 3rd party, farcical tyre "show."


Guess they want to tweak the tyres for closer racing. But if Merc get it right with tweaked tires or Red Bull starts winning again and......that's F1.

kenneth chapman

pirelli should butt out of the tyre selection process. the teams should be the ones choosing the compounds they want from the four available some 6/8 weeks ahead of the race, similar to the timing of the decision that pirelli makes.

that way each team gets to choose the tyres that suit their cars. they should also be able to choose whether or not to run a particular compound at all if they choose to.

by adopting this methodology it becomes a much fairer way to go racing. each team either lives or dies on their own choices of tyres.

i am quite seriously opposed to pirelli having any say whatsoever on the choice of compounds forced upon the teams. this is totally wrong.

why is it that the FIA impose this upon the teams? the teams are denied the opportunity of maximising the cars potential on any given circuit. this is wrong.


Is it just me that sees the merc team throwing the Ferrari bunch under the bus????

Whats with the sudden proclamation that Fernando is the greatest leaves me wondering if the Merc guys are screwing with the Ferrari team to level the already leveled Monaco field...What better way then to add gas to an already upset team then to start a discussion on who is the "best"

I just have to think/hope that Louis spends time thinking about this before each session.


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