Pirelli un­der at­tack from teams again

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Tyres come un­der fire for be­ing too hard and too slow, while teams ex­press pref­er­ence for low-pro­file Miche­lin rub­ber

Pirelli had hoped that their de­ci­sion to sup­ply harder tyres to For­mula 1 this year would lead to a sea­son out of the lime­light.

But while the furore over var­i­ous as­pects of the new rules en­sured that was in­deed the case in the first few races, it has not taken long for grum­blings to emerge again about the qual­ity of the rub­ber sup­plied to F1.

Fer­rari’s Fer­nando Alonso – who had a pub­lic row through the me­dia with Pirelli mo­tor­sport di­rec­tor Paul Hem­bery last au­tumn – has be­come the first ma­jor fig­ure to voice crit­i­cisms. “They are too hard. There are no se­crets,” he said of the tyres af­ter Monaco, be­fore ex­pand­ing with a with­er­ing crit­i­cism of their lack of ‘race­abil­ity’.

“When they bring nor­mal tyres with good grip, we fin­ish the tyre in two or three laps. When they bring harder tyres we fin­ish the tyre in eight or nine laps, but we go very slow. The tyre is what it is and what it has been for the last four years un­for­tu­nately.”

Alonso’s point is that the driv­ers face the same prob­lems whether the tyre has the right grip level for the track or too lit­tle – they still have to man­age se­vere degra­da­tion even with hard tyres, and there­fore can­not push hard through­out a stint.

This mar­ries with the as­sess­ment of leading en­gi­neers, who, be­hind the scenes, have been say­ing sim­i­lar things for some time. One en­gi­neer­ing boss of a top team told F1 Rac­ing that the tyres are no more durable than at any time over the pre­vi­ous three years of Pirelli’s ten­ure – they’re just harder.

The gen­eral feel­ing among teams and driv­ers about the tyres, if still un­spo­ken in pub­lic, is that while they do a job, the Pirellis are of a stan­dard that does not be­fit the world’s high­est level of mo­tor­sport.

And the teams’ wishes were made clear in a doc­u­ment pre­pared for the strat­egy group rule-mak­ing body. An anal­y­sis of the case to switch to low-pro­file tyres and 18-inch wheels in the fu­ture was il­lus­trated by a ren­der­ing of a Fer­rari on such tyres (above) – but they bore Miche­lin brand­ing.

Pirelli, un­der con­tract un­til 2016, say they are not aware of any dis­sat­is­fac­tion: “Pirelli pre­fer not to re­ply to re­marks that have not been made di­rectly to us,” a spokesman said. “The only di­rect com­ments we have re­ceived so far have been pos­i­tive.”

Pirelli are con­tracted to sup­ply tyres to F1 un­til 2016, and say they they have re­ceived only pos­i­tive feed­back

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