As Jonathan Noble at AUTOSPORT pointed out yesterday in his story about the potential tire compound changes that Pirelli have committed to for the Canadian Grand Prix, it may not be as simple as making a quick change. Lotus F1 and Ferrari both weighed in on the issue with disdain for the impending changes which they feel will detract from their performance and compliment other teams. Now the FIA has weighed in with clarification on the regulations surrounding such a mid-season change.

According to AUTOSPORT, the FIA said:

“Discussions between the FIA and Pirelli are ongoing regarding the tyre failures and making changes to prevent them happening again. These talks do not involve the subject of degradation or the number of pitstops.”

Pirelli motor sport boss Paul Hembery made comments in the press that there are no safety issues with the delaminating tires as they were cut by debris and that to change the tire now would only benefit Red Bull. These are statements that will be difficult to erase should the Italian tire maker go ahead with the proposed tire changes. Even more odd is that the FIA and Pirelli seemed to have missed a communication step prior to Pirelli making a public announcement that they would indeed change the compounds for the Canadian Grand Prix onward.

The FIA cites Article 12.6.3:

“Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.”

It will be interesting to see this saga play out but it represents yet another intriguing part of Formula One and its rush to pragmatism over prudence. Should Lotus and Ferrari be penalized for getting their math correct? Should Pirelli be punished by making a tire so temperamental as to impact the entirety of racing in F1?

Given the regulations and comments made by Pirelli, do you think they are treading on thin ice with any changes to the performance characteristics of the 2013 compounds?

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.
  • KevinW

    It’s interesting that Red Bull is being thrown under the bus as not being able to figure the tires out, demanding they change to suit them…. when they have 2 wins and are ahead in both the WDC and WCC. Ferrari and Lotus, portended to have “the tires all figured out” are behind Red Bull, not leading them. That said, the idea put forth by Pirelli that a tire coming apart during a race is not unsafe, because it is caused by debris… is, well, incredible and insane. I guess Ferrari and Lotus are hoping that they escape disaster from a tire coming apart, while Red Bull suffers? Good luck with that. I am personally happy to see the compounds will remain in place. This will eliminate any potential controversy from Ferrari and Lotus whining that they are being beaten by a change that favors Red Bull. I’d rather see Red Bull beat them at the game they deserve, founded on their own whine-manship to keep things as they are. I have to wonder what will happen if a tire comes apart and takes Alonso or Kimi out of a race… then we’ll see just how fair minded they really are.

    • F1Master

      No you son of a beotch you fail to understand

      All the teams were given this years spec tyres end of last year and the beginning of this year to test and build this years car around. the two teams that seem to have done this the best are ferarri and renault and redbull realise this. redbull can not utilise the full down force advantage they have because they burn out the tyres when thy drive to the cars full potential, thats their problem, why should the other teams who can do this be punished for getting their set up right?

      Alonso has had one DNF and one DRS failure otherwise he would be leading the championship

      It was all good when redbull had their flexi wings and secret ride height adjuster but now the bastards dont have an advantage they want the tyres changed, they are not able to dominate the majority of tracks and they know they will not win this year, ferrari and renault are starting to finish in front of them regularly.

      it is against the rules to change the tyres unless for safety reasons and there is not really any safety reasons at the moment

      • Rapierman

        No safety reason? Well, if you want to go out there on the road and you’re okay with having your own tires fall apart on you and send you sliding into a ditch, you go right ahead and do that. I’ll just be boppin’ along in my Cobalt on safety-inspected, Texas-Law-required perfectly good tires. At least I know that my chances of living longer are that much greater.

      • “All the teams were given this years spec tyres end of last year and the beginning of this year to test and build this years car around” No they where not. The team got to test a few experimental tires during a few sessions last year when they where still focusing on testing for races last year and didn’t see the new tires until testing this year, well after the cars for this year where designed.

        • hobo

          Incorrect, they DID see the new tires, and this article even states: “this is the teams’ only chance to get a feel for the new rubber, and make adjustments for next year’s car, so that they don’t ‘clash’ with next year’s car. Having already announced that the compound for next year’s tires is very different to the one used this season”

          And if your beef is that the teams did not get to test them enough or that the testing during the season was hampered because the teams were still focused on finishing the Brazilian GP, that is an issue with the amount of testing allowed, not Pirelli.

          • Wasn’t one of Pirelli’s main issues centered on the lack of testing and in particular the lack of testing in hot weather? I believe I recall them saying they really needed more testing in hot weather for the 2013 compounds and that is the reason for the issues they are having now.

          • hobo

            That sounds familiar, but I don’t recall if it was the teams or Pirelli. Winter testing was too much winter and not enough testing, due to the cold temps in Spain this year.

            Add to that the 2010 Renault test car that Pirelli has and it’s no wonder that issues arise.

          • Originally it was teams but just a week or so ago, Pirelli said they would like more testing and that the temps were to blame for the lack of really vetting the tire.

          • Rapierman

            So, I’m guessing that they need more warm weather locations and more time to try it there. Death Valley would probably work. ;-)

  • Rapierman

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never known debris to take the tread off a tire. That’s always due to either the tire being worn completely out or poor workmanship. With Pirelli, it seems to be both.

    How do I know this? I’ve had it happen to me a few times. It’s always because I’ve worn the tire out.

    • F1Master

      yeah of course it has happened to you…. when you have been driving a F1 car right ???

      son of beotch lol

      • Rapierman

        Hey, ease off on the language and trolling. You want to discuss the subject? Tell me why you think I’m wrong. Gimme some concrete reasoned arguments for your point of view. You want to troll and flame? Go somewhere else. That’s not tolerated here.

    • Brett

      The increased the strength and stiffness of the carcass. When cut, the tread overheats and basically peels off the carcass, which remains intact (and presumably inflated). So, while the debris itself may pose a danger (as any debris would), the idea is that the car is still riding on 4 inflated tires, rather having the entire tire shred (which arguable is a bigger danger).

      I think the tipping point is whether or not a slow puncture would cause the delam. In that case, you’d want be able to nurse it back to the pits and change tires before the tire delamed and flogged your body work. But, I think Alonso did experience a puncture in the last race, and he was obviously able to make it back to the pits okay.

  • Andreas

    I don’t see how changing the tires to a spec that lasts more than 10 laps, doesn’t fall apart or leave drivers clueless of how to stop themselves falling down the order faster than a brick (pick any) would only benefit Red Bull. It would be the same for everybody, wouldn’t it? At least that’s what they say now. But if changing would only benefit one team, the current state can’t be “the same for everybody”…

    Honestly, at this point I don’t care if Red Bull wins the rest of the season in 1-2 fashion (or “multi 12”, as they’d call it) – I just want to see some racing, rather than the tyre lottery we have now. And I’d like the post-race conversations to be about racing, not tyres.

    • Sizziano

      It doesn’t really matter who people think it would favor or not. If all teams can’t agree to change the compounds its not going to happen. Only the safety tweaks as aforementioned.

      • Andreas

        True that, and as the F1 teams seem incapable of agreeing on anything, it probably won’t happen. One can dream, though… :)

        • Rapierman

          When it comes to agreeing on anything, Formula 1 teams can’t tell which way is up anyway. Why would I even trust them to make an honest, reasonable decision for the good of all instead of themselves?

    • hobo

      “And I’d like the post-race conversations to be about racing, not tyres.”

      This is entirely up to the media. They are going to run with whatever is sexy and/or fills time. Tires are currently that thing.

      Every single piece of an F1 car is in flux early in the season. Every team has significant upgrades when they return to Europe (race 5 or so) every year, wings are constantly changing, aero, cooling solutions, and whatever trick mods are de rigueur for the year. By mid-season most of it has settled down, including tires.

      Why everyone has latched onto tires again (when the last two years have had similar progressions) is beyond me. Here’s a good read:

  • olderguysrule

    Hey everybody, check out the autosport site. They posted a article dated yesterday saying that changes will be made for safety reasons only and will be minimal or something to that affect. This is huge. Maybe they’ll go from steel belted to kevlar or something like that, to address the delamination problems but no changes will be made to make the tires more durable. Are they just following the rules as listed in the FIA rule book? Maybe, but I suspect there’s more going on than that. Mr NC, what’s your take on all this? Maybe this, the horse whisperer talked, (yesterday) and last night the FIA responded.

    • olderguysrule

      Op’s, didn’t want the 1st sentence in there, because NC was talking about the article I read, but I couldn’t edit it. :>)

  • Brett

    ” Even more odd is that the FIA and Pirelli seemed to have missed a communication step prior to Pirelli making a public announcement that they would indeed change the compounds for the Canadian Grand Prix onward.”

    Perhaps this was intentional. It allows Pirelli to appear flexible, which simultaneously slapping down Red Bull from complaining about the tires without unanimous support from the teams.

    • It’s a consideration Brett. Seems odd if they didn’t discuss it.

  • Bill Bray

    Dude, you need to proofread your posts before you post them.

    Errors in the text take away from your cred.

    On the tires, just throw Red Bull out of F1 for all the cheating, go back to more conservative tires and be done with the problem.

    Hate Red Bull, Horner, Marko and Vettel.

    • I appreciate the fact that you felt I had cred to begin with. F1B has to fit in between my day job and life as a husband and father. There is one of me posting daily stories here so I tend to go quickly and miss typos and for that I apologize. I know that’s irritating to readers and I’m sorry about that. Most F1B’ers have come to read around my grammar-challenged buffoonery. :) Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • Xman

    I think the FIA’s non involvement in the sport since Todt was elected is part to blame for this communication breakdown. Someone with authority should be walking the grid, communicating not only with us but teams and pirelli. Todt sits back in his chair with a fat cigar ordering around his personal assistant no.3 to write a press release moments before the sole tyre manufacturer changes their specifications! Its a farce. Oh and btw i will not be suprise if Mr Hembry is banned by Pirelli from opening his mouth while getting excited by his new found F1 world wide fame. In true form to people in the 21st century – corruption and bribery is never far from the truth. Ask non other that the F1 king himself… Whats his name again?

  • Andreas

    So, to sum up what Pirelli has said so far:

    – Changing the tires to more durable compounds would more or less give Red Bull the victory, so that won’t do. But…
    – Five stints in Spain was too much, and the tires were too aggressive. So they will be revised from Canada onwards.
    – Another reason to revise the tires is to stop the delaminations, although…
    – The delaminating tires was really down to debris on the track, so it’s not really a tire problem at all.
    – Also, having the tread come off is better than a puncture, so it’s actually safer this way.
    – Even so, the tyres need to be revised for safety reasons.

    Did I miss anything? :-)

    • Rapierman

      Nope, that about covers it.

  • Stick like glue, for one heat cycle. To that end, they are designed with an entirely different philosophy from street tires, and those differences make them unsuitable for street use.