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Pirelli defends 'aggressive' tyre strategy

Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery explains the tyre manufacturer's 'more aggressive' 2012 strategy, and fended off Michael Schumacher's recent criticism.
Tyres seem to be very much the subject of the moment in F1, and that put Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery firmly in the spotlight during media opportunities in Barcelona. [See Pirelli's video guide to the Spanish GP]

"The compound choices have been a little bit more aggressive," admitted Hembery when asked what had changed in Pirelli's approach to the supply of tyres to F1 this year compared with 2011.

"There are some similarities to last year but the hard tyre in particular is very much different," he said. "If we think about last year when we were here, the harder tyre in particular created quite a few struggles for the teams to get working. There were probably only two drivers in that race that got it working. So, yes there have been some changes.

"Last year we were finding that the soft tyre, if we take that as a good example, had a working range from 20 degrees all the way through to the late 30s," he continued. "This season we've seen that when the temperature dropped dramatically in Shanghai that caused quite a dramatic change in tyre performance when it went below 20 degrees." Hembery agreed that as a result of the change, there was "probably some sensitivity there" that hadn't been the case before.

However, he wasn't expecting temperature to be an issue this weekend in Spain, even if Sunday does prove to be cooler for the race than practice and qualifying as forecast. "It'll probably be in Germany or at Silverstone where we'll get more of an issue with that," he added.

In the meantime, Pirelli has been fending off some scathing criticism about the tyres from none other than multiple world champion Michael Schumacher since the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix three weeks ago. Hembery said that he had been working hard to bridge the gap between the tyre manufacturer and F1's most successful driver.

"Yeah, he had a meeting with some of our engineers," revealed Hembery. "To be honest, it was a little bit more general than just talking about Bahrain, it was trying to understand what we're doing with testing, future development, the way we're going forward and maybe hearing from ourselves of some of the constraints we have.

"Michael's obviously a great champion, he's been the most successful F1 driver so of course we listen to the comments," he insisted. "But we also have lots of comments from other drivers, and until they all say the same thing...

Hembery pointed out that when they took over as the tyre supplier to the series, Pirelli had been given a specific brief to make the tyres more challenging in terms of degradation and tyre wear, rather that make them so hard wearing that it was possible for teams to run on the same set for practically an entire Grand Prix race distance.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
10.05.2012- Pirelli Tyres
20.04.2012- Pirelli Tyre
Jaime Alguersuari tries his hand at tyre fitting
13.04.2012 - Free practice 2, Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorspor Director and Mario Isola (ITA), Sporting Director Pirelli
23.11.2014- Sam Michael (AUS) McLaren Sporting Director
22.1.2014 - Free practice 3, Pirelli tyres
22.11.2014 - Michael "Herbie" Blash, FIA Deputy Race Director and Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate
21.11.2014 - Free Practice 1, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Sam Michael (AUS) McLaren Sporting Director
21.11.2014 - Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director (R)
20.11.14- Pirelli Tyres and OZ Wheels
20.11.2014 - Pirelli Tyres and OZ Wheels
20.11.2014 - Pirelli Tyres and OZ Wheels
20.11.2014 - Pirelli Tyres
09.11.2014 - Race, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
09.11.2014 - Race, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
08.11.2014 - Qualifying, Pirelli Tyres
07.11.2014 - Press conference, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
07.11.2014 - Press conference, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director

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Tyres are tiring - Unregistered

May 12, 2012 10:58 AM

There should be a limit to the number of pit stops. Tyres should last much longer. Shumi is correct as it's all about tyre management not racing craft. Or introduce a different WC for tyre management.

Zz - Unregistered

May 13, 2012 5:59 AM

If forcing teams to use both tyre compounds, (even though one is clearly less suitable and wouldn't be used otherwise), is supposed to make F1 more exciting, why not give the strategy loving fans even more of the same and thus add even more excitement? Let's ban pneumatic wheel nut guns, but only for alternate pit stops. After all, it's SO boring knowing that the car in front is REALLY leading the race and not there simply because it will have to stop at some point for yet another tyre change....



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