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  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'.