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Korean Grand Prix: Webber joins attack on Pirelli

A furious Mark Webber has added to recent criticism of F1's Pirelli tyres following his retirement from the Korean Grand Prix.
Just days after friend and rival Fernando Alonso let his feelings regarding the current breed of F1 tyre known to all [ see separate story], Mark Webber has launched another stinging attack on sole supplier Pirelli.

No doubt fuelled by his fiery retirement from the Korean Grand Prix, and without little to lose given his impending retirement from the top flight, Webber did not hold back as he described the frustration of having to race with tyres that he suggested were not fit for purpose.

The Australian's exit from the race in Yeongam was precipitated by another Pirelli tyre failure, although the company insists that the delamination on Sergio Perez's McLaren had been pre-empted by the Mexican locking up under braking and flat-spotting his front tyres shortly before. Following immediately behind Perez, Webber had nowhere to go when it came to avoiding the resulting debris, and had to pit to replace a puncture picked up as he ran through the mix of discarded rubber and carbon fibre.

The extra stop was particularly galling for Webber as he had not long made a scheduled call for fresh tyres, and would have been well placed when the safety car emerged, having battled into podium contention from 13th on the grid. Worse still, however, the extra stop left him in the middle of the pack at the restart, where he was collected by an errant Adrian Sutil, starting the blaze that ended his race.

“Pirelli will put the [Perez] puncture down to a lock-up, but the reason the drivers are locking up is because there's no tread left,” the Australian fumed to journalists after the race, “That is how it is. The drivers aren't super important – it is what other people want. The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit - but that is for Pirelli to sort out.”

Webber turns his back on F1 after next month's Brazilian Grand Prix, frustrated by the need to look after the tyres, and no doubt fearing similar restrictions on pure 'racing' that the new engine, and fuel, regulations will bring in 2014.

Pirelli did indeed blame the Perez problem on a lock-up, with motorsport director Paul Hembery pointing out that the Mexican had exceeded the recommended number of laps on that set of tyres, before repeating calls to be allowed to test the company's products properly.

Tagged as: Mark Webber , Pirelli , tyres , korea

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October 07, 2013 10:29 AM

Got to agree with Webber, a flat spot shouldn't cause that kind of delamination. Hasn't been a great weekend PR wise for Paul Hembry. As sunny suggests, he should keep his gob shut sometimes.


October 07, 2013 10:30 AM
Last Edited 1359 days ago

Regardless of what we all think about the tire degradation, you can't deny that Pirelli are just providing the tire the FIA has asked them for. Regarding the delaminations etc. - it seems quite clear that a lot of the drivers went further on their tires than Pirelli recommended. If that's the case, then you can't blame Pirelli. It's like buying a toy inflatable boat. You can't try and paddle across the ocean in it and have a moan when it sinks. However, use it in rivers and streams that it's designed for and you shouldn't have a problem. I don't like these tires, but I think a lot of the blame is put unfairly on Pirelli. Especially when you consider their ridiculously stupid testing limitations. You cannot ask a tire manufacturer to make you tires for F1 that degrade quickly but are very safe and then turn around and tell them, and by the way we're not going to let you test them. Stupidity!

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