Pirelli backtrack in tyre saga
Updated: Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 10:10
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has been forced to clarify his company's position after initially appearing to criticise the Formula One teams for Sunday's British Grand Prix chaos.
Hembery and Pirelli were yesterday adamant the current range of tyres are safe, despite the spectacular blowouts witnessed over the course of the weekend at Silverstone.
Following "exhaustive analysis" into the failures involving a number of drivers, including Lewis Hamilton who was leading the race at the time, Pirelli has cited four reasons.
Pirelli claim there was incorrect reverse mounting of the rear tyres; adoption by the teams of too-low pressures; extreme camber settings made by the teams; and aggressive kerbing at Silverstone.
The Italian manufacturer claimed in their first statement the rear tyres "are not designed to be interchangeable", while under-inflation and extreme cambers "can be dangerous under certain circumstances".
Pirelli at least accepted part of the blame for the fact the right and left-rear tyres were being swapped around by stating it to be "a practice...underestimated by everybody, above all Pirelli, which did not forbid this".
Among his opening remarks, Hembery said: "I'd like to re-emphasise the fact the 2013 range of tyres, used in the correct way, is completely safe."
It immediately led to suggestions Pirelli was shifting a considerable amount of responsibility on to the teams.
Just over 90 minutes later, however, Hembery and Pirelli issued a further response, suggesting no attempt was being made to criticise.
Hembery said: "Contrary to the impression some people have formed, I would like to underline the collaboration and support we are receiving from the teams, drivers, FIA and FOM (Formula One Management).
"In no way are we intending to create arguments or attack anybody.
"We have taken our responsibilities upon ourselves...but not having full control over all the elements that impact on the use of the tyres, we need everybody's contribution.
"With regard to this, we are receiving the full support of all the parties involved, for which we are very grateful."
In terms of addressing the failures, Pirelli is to implement a two-part plan.
For this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Pirelli is to use a belt made of Kevlar - a high-strength synthetic fibre which is more resistant to punctures - instead of steel for the rear tyres only.
From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, Pirelli is to use a tyre that fuses the structure, construction and belt from last year with the current compounds from this season.
Pirelli is also seeking a change to the regulations that will permit them access to the real-time data from the teams regarding parameters such as tyre pressure, temperature and camber angles.
Hembery added: "What happened at Silverstone was completely unexpected and it was the first time that anything like this has ever occurred in more than a century of Pirelli in motorsport.
"These incidents, which have upset us greatly, have stressed the urgency of the changes we already suggested - which will be introduced for free practice in Germany on Friday."