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Drivers pushing for ‘maximum’ speed Pirelli tyres

"If we get sticky tyres, we will have happy drivers, and happy drivers means authentic and honest performance..."
Formula 1 drivers have prepared a proposal that it hopes will prompt Pirelli could produce tyres capable of being driven 'to the maximum' rather than follow the high degradation blueprint favoured by FOM.

The Italian firm has endured a fairly controversial tenure as tyre supplier since its return as the control provider in 2011, adhering to requests from the commercial rights holder to 'spice' up the racing with the construction of a higher degradation tyre that would promote alternative strategies and tyre conservation.

Though the format was considered successful in its intention when it led to seven different race winners from the first seven races in 2013, critics suggested it created artificial results, while drivers have often signalled a preference to have tyres they can push with some start-to-finish.

While safety concerns following a series of high-profile failures in 2013 led to a more conservative approach for 2014 and 2015, Pirelli – having won a contract extension from 2017 – is again under pressure to re-introduce higher wearing tyres once more.

However, Grand Prix Drivers' Association President Alexander Wurz says this goes against the wishes of the drivers, who feel advances in safety mean they should be allowed a product that allows them to push more into corners, which in turn will produce a 'more authentic and honest performance'.
"If we get sticky tyres, we will have happy drivers, and happy drivers means authentic and honest performance, pure message for the product and driving the cars to the maximum,” he told the BBC. "That's what we want and, according to the fan survey we did last year, what all the fans expect."

"We know that car and circuit safety was designed for higher speeds. We have seen higher cornering speeds in F1 already, back in 2009, cars went more than 30mph faster around corners.

"While we drivers want to minimise the dangers, by using modern technologies and the amazing safety know-how F1 developed over the years, drivers accept the underlying risks of racing to a certain extent. But first and foremost race drivers want to go fast.”

Pirelli beat Michelin to win the latest tyre supply tender, the French firm having presented a proposal that would have likely adhered to the driver's wishes of being able to push throughout a race.

Pirelli says it is willing to follow whatever brief it is set, though it has previously issued threats to quit due to a lack of testing.
by Ollie Barstow

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