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Teams fear more 'dull' one-stoppers if Pirelli play safe in 2014

The focus at the start of the season was on tyres that were too difficult to cope with, but now teams fear that Pirelli may play too safe in 2014 and races could become too static and dull.
With most cars able to just about achieve a one-stop race strategy at the Circuit of the Americas for last weekend's United States Grand Prix, teams and drivers got a taste of what it will mean if Pirelli go through with their recent threat to go "conservative" with their 2014 tyre compounds.

The tyre manufacturer used the same word, "conservative", to describe its selection of P Zero Orange hard compounds as the prime designation and the P Zero White medium tyre for the option. Race winner Sebastian Vettel was comfortably able to to make it halfway through the race on the latter, suggesting that degradation had not been a significant factor.

Without a big difference in either the duration or longevity of the two types of tyre supplied to teams for a race weekend, teams fear that while it would make their lives easier in terms of race strategy it could also prove to be a right turn-off for fans if the races became dull and boring as a consequence.

Pirelli, meanwhile, has been growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of direction, information and cooperation as they try and make plans for the 2014 tyres they will be producing.

"We just want to be told what to do," said the company's director of motorsports Paul Hembery. "We want a clear input and want it clearly defined, because the characteristic this year is that people have maybe forgotten what we were asked to do.

"That has got lost somewhere in the passage of time and that is the important thing that we want to make sure is resolved," he added. "Somebody needs to tell us what they want to do."

Pirelli has consistently pointed out that they were originally given a brief to make tyres strategy a challenge for the team by making tyres harder to predict and impossible to run for extended periods without a consequence on performance. However, a string of high-profile problems with this year's tyres in the first half of the season saw Pirelli's products heavily criticised and unsurprisingly the company is unwilling to be put in the same position again in 2014.

"I guess what will happen is that we will take a very cautious approach and we will end up with one stop races after this year," said Hembery.

"We have seen a few things that have made us think that we need to take a step back," he added. "And we would end up with a one-stop which is maybe not what the sport wants. But somebody needs to tell us what they do want."

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November 19, 2013 9:59 AM

So the teams complained they wore out too fast, and are now complaining that they last too long. And to say that the spectacle of racing should be in the pit stops shows just how lost this series is! Make cars that can follow other cars, slip stream and overtake naturally and maybe the spectacle will be back without faking it with DRS, tyres with poor degradation etc. The teams should be supplying the entertainment, not the tyre company...


November 19, 2013 3:48 PM

So last year, they wanted more overtaking and told Pirelli to make faster degrading tires. Pirelli complied, but after tires started to disintegrate after teams mounted them backwards and under inflating them, Pirelli got taken to the slaughterhouse. So they brought back last years tires, Vettel got his championship and now everybody is whining again that the tires are no good (or too good). Honestly, I don't even know why Pirelli even bothers anymore. They get kicked in the nuts regardless of what they do, and it is hurting their reputation. They should have given F1 the one finger salute.

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