Well, it’s official… Pirelli will change the tire compounds for 2013 in what is sure to be a controversial move should Red Bull regain its dominating stance and start making hay with the new tire compounds come the Canadian Grand Prix. Pirelli’s motor sport boss, Paul Hembery, even fingered Red Bull as the main benefactor should they change the tires for 2013.
The tire issue has gone on long enough and while a few teams and drivers are relishing the current performance advantage they enjoy with this years compounds, the majority of the teams are struggling with the aggressive nature of this years construction and degradation levels. Pirelli were keen to point out that the delamination of the tires this year posed no safety concern.
Let’s be honest, Pirelli are providing what Formula One asked for so there shouldn’t be any vitriolic diatribe issued at their expense. I suggest they were trying a little too hard to out-think the teams with this year’s compounds and went a bridge too far. There is no harm in that other than millions of dollars in lost points by teams that otherwise may have finished the first 5 races in higher positions if they had a moderately degrading tire with which to work.
Pirelli know how to make an incredible tire and they know how to provide what F1 is asking for but sometimes the planets don’t align and the sun doesn’t always shine of a particular action such as making a more aggressive tire for 2013. Pirelli admitted that their simulations were off and without more in-season testing in hot weather, it is difficult to nail the spec down completely. Here is teh full press release:
Milan, May 14, 2013 – This year’s Pirelli P Zero Formula One tyre range will change from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, using a revised construction.
The move follows the Spanish Grand Prix, which had four pit stops per driver. The new range will combine elements from the 2012 and 2013 tyres to have both durability and performance.
Pirelli’s motorsport director 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.”
With limited testing time, it’s clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we’re determined to rapidly resolve it. It’s worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tyres under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time. The Teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tyres on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3 seconds per lap).
We’ve also taken this step to avoid the delaminations that were caused by track debris. It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres as the core structure of the tyre is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tyres safely. These delaminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread. 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.”
As I mentioned in our podcast, I’ve worked with Pirelli and you won’t find a better group of people committed to providing a better product. They understand the issues and have decided to remedy the situation. Even with the tires issues of 2013, I couldn’t have more respect for them if I tried and you should also afford them the patience of trying to work within F1’s guidelines to “spice up the show”. Making this type of tire goes against everything they would normally stand for and that is to be commended from a marketing stand point.