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F1: Pirelli wants early decisions on F1's future

F1 tyre provider Pirelli says that it needs clear decisions in place about the future direction of F1 if it is to continue working within the sport.
Pirelli has said that clear decisions need to be made sooner rather than later about the future of F1 if the tyre manufacturer is to commit to extending its own association with the sport beyond the expiration of its current three-year contact at the end of the 2016 season.

"We want to see what's happening in 2017," said Pirelli's head of motorsport Paul Hembery. "If you have a tender process you need to see what you are signing up to and what sort of sport are we talking about."

Pirelli would be directly affected by proposed new regulations currently being discussed by the F1 Strategy Group for 2017, which include bigger tyres, wider cars, much bigger rear wings and engines running at 1000 horsepower.

While Pirelli has already said that it would be in favour of increasing tyre size in a bid to bring the 'wow' factor back to the sport, Hembery insisted that the company needed plenty of advance notice if it was going to be able to deliver on such majorly revised requirements.

"There are elements that are very good in F1 and there are elements that, as with anything, you could say need improving," said Hembery.

"It has a big impact on the amount of work involved and we'd like to know then how we can actually do some verification testing, because with such a change you don't want to end up doing your first tests in Jerez four weeks before going to Melbourne," he continued. "You'd want to be doing some running back in October or November the year previous to the start [if the changes are to the extent that have been described.]"

Hembery insisted that Pirelli was still very willing and able to do whatever the sport ended up deciding, given enough lead-in time.

"We are happy to do the right thing for the sport and we have always said that. We're here to provide what they want," he said. "If they wanted to do no pit stops and one set of tyres to last the whole race we could do that as well. We will always adapt to what the sport needs."

But Hembery also warned that if the decisions aren't made in time and there is a lack of clarity as to F1's requirements going into the next tender process for the tyre provision contract, then Pirelli might have to think again.

"It will be almost impossible to go the board if you know there are changes in the offing," he said. "If you don't know what those changes are, how can you make a decision costing a substantial amount of money?"

One thing that Hembery categorically ruled out was the return of tyre wars in which rival manufacturers engage in a private battle, as happened most recently between 2001 and 2006 when Michelin returned to F1 to do battle with the incumbent tyre providers Bridgestone.

"Competition is not going to happen and the teams don't want it," Hembery said emphatically. "It's a no-win situation. What happens generally over time is somebody disappears."

Tagged as: Pirelli , tyres , Paul Hembery

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