Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says he is delighted with the impact that the tyre supplier has had on F1 through the opening three races of the 2011 campaign.
The new-for-2011 tyres and a series of regulation changes, including the introduction of DRS and the return of KERS, have led to three dramatic races so far this year, with the Chinese Grand Prix in particular being full of action at Lewis Hamilton battled to victory ahead of Sebastian Vettel, and Mark Webber stormed from the back of the grid to finish on the podium.
Those races have vindicated Pirelli's decision to return to the sport and Hembery said he was pleased with the impact that has been made so far.
“In the end, we came into Formula One as a company because we wanted to make an active contribution that benefited the sport, and I believe so far we have succeeded,” he told IBN Live
. “A lot of people said to me that China was one of the most exciting races that there had been for years, so that's a very positive sign for the rest of the year. If we can keep on having races like that, then I'll be extremely happy.
“We wanted at least two pit stops at every race with plenty of overtaking and close some finishes. This was all covered within our brief from the promoter, and so far I think we have delivered. It's not been an easy task as degradation is a very fine balance to judge, particularly when you are dealing with twelve different cars and 20 different tracks. If you're even a little bit out with your calculations, you can end up with too many pit stops or just the bare minimum. Up to now we've got it right, but we're going to keep on working hard throughout the year to make sure that this continues to be the case.
“I think it's only human for people to be sceptical about something new, particularly in the pressurised environment of Formula One. But throughout our testing campaign, during which we covered around 18,000 kilometres, our test drivers and our data were consistently giving us the feedback we were expecting to hear, so we knew we were on the right road. And I think now people are beginning to appreciate our contribution.”
Hembery added that it was difficult to see how people could have failed to enjoy the racing served up so far in 2011.
“From our perspective it's hard to imagine how anybody could be disappointed by the calibre of the racing so far,” he said. “Having said that, we're humble enough to recognise that we're still very new in Formula One and we don't have all the answers yet. We're going to keep working hard, but I personally think we've certainly started off on the right road with some great racing. That's the most important thing at the end of the day.”