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Pirelli denies ceding to Ferrari pressure in tyre selection

Pirelli insists its tyre selection in F1 2011 has not in any way been influenced by certain teams' requests - as the Italian manufacturer's motorsport director Paul Hembery calls for more representative tyre testing
Pirelli has bluntly rebuffed accusations that it has caved in to pressure from Ferrari in its tyre selection for a number of races this season, despite suggestions that the choices for the forthcoming Belgian, Italian and Singapore Grands Prix represent 'good news' for the Scuderia.

Earlier this week, Pirelli announced its tyre compounds for the next three outings at Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Marina Bay [see separate story – click here], with some 'surprise' expressed that softer rubber will be taken to two of the highest-speed circuits on the F1 calendar.

Respected Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio has mused that 'it's good news for Ferrari', after the Prancing Horse lamented the harder tyres used in last month's British Grand Prix at Silverstone – a race in which double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso nonetheless triumphed. The F150° Italia has encountered difficulties in getting the harder compound up to temperature this year. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery, however, is adamant that teams have no sway over the decisions made.

“No,” he told Spanish sports newspaper AS. “I read what is in the press at the end of the work day, but nothing more than that. There are some compounds that suit some people better in general. In other cases, it depends on the track or the weather. It's very difficult to generalise.”

Operating to a strict brief from commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, Pirelli has been praised for helping to significantly spice up the spectacle in F1 2011 – with Hembery arguing that the substantially improved overtaking statistics this year are '70 per cent tyres and 30 per cent DRS' – although the Englishman concedes that producing deliberately fast-deteriorating rubber can be a double-edged sword.

“We need to tread carefully and show our tyres can contribute to the show, but not by taking too many [safety] risks,” he underlined, stressing that high-degradation is a positive 'only to some extent'.

The Pirelli boss went on to state that he would like for teams to be more involved in tyre-testing. Due to current regulations, only private tyre-testing can be conducted – but Hembery is eager to gain more relevant data from the F1 2011 models to aid future development.

“We're working on it,” he revealed, “but at the moment, there's nothing to say. We're asking for help, because the Toyota 2009 car is different from those in the [2011] world championship. It would also be good to do some testing immediately after a grand prix. We don't know yet on what date or at what circuit.”

Meanwhile, the planned test outing for rallying and gymkhana stunt star Ken Block in Pirelli's Toyota TF109 test mule at Monza this week once again had to be canned as the 43-year-old American was 'too big' at 6'2” and 84kg to fit into the car – one designed around Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock. Hembery confirmed that 'we are looking at running him in another car'.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.06.2011- Ken Block, Test Driver Pirelli
12.06.2011- Race, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director, Mario Isola (ITA), Sporting Director Pirelli  and Ken Block, Test Driver Pirelli
28.07.2011 Pirelli tires
Pirelli Tyres
23.06.2011- Pirelli Tyres
20.05.2011- Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
09.07.2011- Saturday Practice, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director and Mario Isola (ITA), Sporting Director Pirelli
06.05.2011- Aldo Costa (ITA), Technical Director, Scuderia Ferrari and Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H

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UGGI - Unregistered

August 05, 2011 1:36 PM

Never thought about that, but I suppose it could be true? Alonso did praise his tyres after his victory? But would Ferrari do such a dastardly deed, lol!!! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm indeed.


August 05, 2011 5:57 PM

brendan, dont spoil the fun for all those who love to believe there is a conspiracy in favour of ferrari! maybe pirelli changed the tyres to suit mclaren, and that is why they have recovered some speed? oh yes, thats it, mclaren are to blame, or is it red bull, or.....

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