Pirelli motor sport boss Paul Hembery admitted Sunday that four stops in a Formula One race is too many. The Italian sole tire supplier faced the reality that degradation was extremely high during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix and the Hembery says it’s the nature of the circuit but unlikely to be repeated again this year:

“Strategy was again at the forefront of the Spanish Grand Prix, which as usual was very demanding on the tyres because of the unique characteristics of this circuit. This is why we saw high levels of degradation, which should not be seen again to this extent for the rest of the year. Our aim is to have between two and three stops at every race, so it’s clear that four is too many: in fact, it’s only happened once before, in Turkey during our first year in the sport. We’ll be looking to make some changes, in time for Silverstone, to make sure that we maintain our target and solve any issues rapidly. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso and Ferrari who pushed hard from start to finish to make the four-stop strategy work for them and seal a very popular result here. They planned their strategy from the start of the weekend, using the tyres wisely during qualifying, and then made it count with some fantastic overtaking moves.”

Mercedes had locked out the front row to start Sunday’s grand prix and immediately drifted backward with Lewis Hamilton radioing in to his pit wall that he couldn’t drive any slower than he was to preserve the tires. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel said that the team aren’t driving to the pace of the car so much as the pace of the tires.


Pit stop summary – 2013 Spanish Grand Prix 

Alonso: MU HU (9) HN (21) MU (36) HN (49) 4

Räikkönen: MU MU (10) MU (26) HU (45) 3

Massa: MU HU (8) HN (20) MU (36) HN (51) 4

Vettel: MU HN (10) HN (24) MU (39) HN (51) 4

Webber: MU HN (7) HN (20) MU (36) HN (50) 4

Rosberg: MU HN (10) HN (27) HN (47) 3

Di Resta: MU HN (9) MU (19) MU (38) HN (53) 4

Button: MN HN (11) HN (28) HN (46) 3

Perez: MU HN (10) HN (23) MU (38) HN (50) 4

Ricciardo: MN HN (10) MU (24) HN(39) HU (51) 4

Gutierrez: MU MU (13) HN (28) MU (42) HN (54) 4

Hamilton: MU HN (9) HN (25) MU (36) HN (50) 4

Sutil: MU MN (8) HN (22) HN (36) MU (49) 4

Maldonado: MN HN (8) DT (13) MN (20) HN (35) MU (53) 5

Hülkenberg: MU MU (8) HN (21) HN (34) HU (35) S&G (38) MU (53) 6

Bottas: MN HN (9) HN (25) MN (43) 3

Pic: HN MN (8) HN (23) HN (41) 3

Bianchi: HN HN (2) HN (16) MN (29) HU (46) 4

Chilton: HN HN (15) MN (30) HN (47) 3

Vergne: MU HN (9) MN (20) HN (34) MU (37) 4 NC

Van Der Garde: MN HN (9) HN (20) 2 NC

Grosjean: MU 0 NC

The first column denotes the tyres the driver started the race on.

M = Medium compound

H = Hard compound Pirelli Tyre Press Office Ph. +39 02 6442 4270 – –

N = New compound

U = Used compound

NC = Not classified

DT = Drive Through

S&G = Stop and Go Penalty

Pirelli said they thought a 3-stop would win the day but Alonso went for a four-stop sprint strategy. He stopped for the first time on lap nine for the hard tyres, hard again on lap 21, medium on lap 36, and hard on lap 49. His team mate Felipe Massa adopted a similar strategy.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • M.Aman

    They are going to reduce the number of pit stops by the British GP. Races were more exciting with 2 stops and a probable 3rd. At least most of the overtaking happened on track.

    Do check out my blog:

  • Rapierman

    THANK YOU, PIRELLI!!! It took you this damn long to figure out your tires aren’t worth jack! Now, what are you going to do about it?

    • Jack Flash (Aust)

      Leave me out of it.

      • Rapierman

        Oh, for cryin’ out loud… -_-

  • bigtheo

    So changing the rules once Ferrari has the best grip on the tires. Can people explain to me how this rule is changed to help Ferrari as some people think all rules are?

  • Rapierman

    What rule? It’s a sub-standard tire anyway! Just change the construction of the tire to make it more durable! That’s all we’re asking.

    • olderguysrule

      We’re? Who’s “We’re” mr Rapierman? What team or teams are making the most noise about the tires? Sounds like the bulls to me. And maybe Whitmarsh At McLaren. Because RedBull can’t run off the front at every race? Probably. Where’s the violin. The way I see it two teams had a way to race at the front. Push the car and do 4 stops. Go easier on the hoops and do 3. If you had to go easy and make 4 stops, maybe you have some work to do.

      • bigtheo

        I’ve been saying I can’t stand the awful tires since the awful tires began, and I’m certainly not changing my opinion just when my favorite team starts doing well. But many drivers and fans who follow the sport rather closely are really upset with the current tire situation.

      • Sizziano

        Uh….Alonso had a 4 stop strategy. I think he did well. Not to sure.

      • Rik

        Even Ferrari had problems with the tires in Spain. Massa was crying mid race and at the end of the race about tires. Alonso was also crying about his tires with the rears loosing grip. The commentators put a PR spin on it for the public but (hopefully) we are not stupid enough to believe their Pirelli spin.

        Look at Hamilton’s quote, “I can’t drive any slower to save these tires”

        JEV blew a tire big time, even-though the announcers blamed it on Hulkenburg, (who hit him before the tire change) there is a problem with these tires.

        Seems every time there is a bad tire Pirelli always says there is a puncture that caused the problem, real or not.

        To think one single team has an advantage or a grasp of what the tires need is a ignorant statement. Look to Kimi’s statement “why try to catch Alonso when the tires will be gone when I try to pass him”. No one has a handle, much less a master of these tires.

  • AB345

    Interesting, Checo w newer tires at end of race could have overtaken Jenson who was on a 3-stopper, but the team probably knew that any racing would imperil both positions on this circuit.

  • David Jackson

    The tires are the same for everyone. Some have figured it out… some haven’t. The only ones complaining are the ones who haven’t. Sounds like an engineering problem and not a tire problem to me.

  • AnthonyFromCalifornia

    Like most people (I think) all I can say is it’s about time Pirelli. I’m a Ferrari fan and I can care less if this hurts us a little more than others, the racing has been subpar because of the tire degradation and it needed to be fixed.

  • robert

    Like I said before… This is TYREMULA 1…This is not the Formula 1 I used to watch for 30 years – where drivers are told not to drive hard! It’s crazy but it’s beginning to annoy me and frankly, it’s not improving the “SHow” at all, if that’s what you call F1 these days….why not get directors and tell everyone what not and what to do if you wanna make this crap a “Show”. My goodness, this is a sport and nothing should influence the outcome of a win and they just showed that this year is all about tires, tires, tires…and it’s tiresome to watch it.

    • Rik

      Exactly. I don’t know who requested Pirelli to make the tires in such a fashion that they are the deciding factor in the race, Mosley or Todt? but it was a mistake.

      Before the tire wars were with two brands, now it’s a war within the teams themselves with no clear winners.

  • MIE

    It is interesting to note that Raikkonen chose used tyres throughout the race. The additional heat cycle presumambly ensuring they last longer? Button on the other hand went for new tyres throughout, and was comlaining at the beginnig of the race that he couldn’t get them up to temperature.

    Reminds me of the 80’s and 90’s when drivers used to scrub in their race tyres duing the Sunday moring warm up.

    • nofahz

      Yep, Lotus is being smarter about their approach and making one less stop is obviously working. I’m glad Hembry acknowledges that there are too many stops. Its getting to be like a DTM race.