Pirelli tyre changes less dramatic than hopped
Motorsport director Paul Hembery told Reuters that the Italian company would find a solution that all teams could agree on without the outcome having a major impact on the championship.
“What we’re trying to do is find the mid ground and that’s where we’re at. The changes required would appear less than first envisaged.”
Pirelli said last week, after a Spanish Grand Prix crammed with pitstops and some eye-catching tyre failures in practice, that they would change the structure and compounds of their tyres from the Canadian Grand Prix – round seven of 19 – in Montreal on June 9.
The move drew criticism from Lotus and Ferrari, the two teams who have most to lose from any changes after adapting their cars to the 2013 tyres more successfully than others including champions Red Bull.
Lotus principal Eric Boullier last week likened the changes to shortening the length of a pitch at half time in a soccer match because one team could not run as fast as their opponents.
Ferrari, in a ‘Horse Whisperer’ column on their website, complained of rivals having selective memories when they criticised the tyres.
While Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso won with four pitstops in Barcelona, so too did Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in 2011 without any furore. The total number of pitstops was also comparable in the two races.
The winning time in Spain was just over seven seconds slower this year than in 2012 but the fastest lap in qualifying was nearly a second quicker.
The Spaniard’s win allowed him to cut the gap on Vettel in the championship standings. Vettel is four points clear of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus with Alonso third, 17 behind the German.
The sporting regulations state that tyre specifications cannot be changed during a championship season without the agreement of all competing teams, unless it is for safety reasons.
That would cover certain structural changes, with Pirelli eager to rectify a situation where treads on rear tyres have been peeling off – ‘delaminating’ – without the tyre itself deflating when penetrated by debris.
Hembery said Pirelli were confident they could keep close to the 2013 specification while rectifying the tread problem.
Last week, the company talked of introducing a revised construction using elements from the 2012 and 2013 tyres to ensure both durability and performance and reduce the number of pitstops.
“Some teams have worked in a certain way to maximise the tyre and chassis package and they don’t want that to be lost by radical change,” said Hembery.
“We’re trying to find something that is sportingly equitable amongst the vast majority that allows us to rid ourselves of the tread (problem). We’re hopeful we can do that without making such a change that would radically alter the work of any team so far.”
Info: Reuters, Image: Pirelli