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‘Time of the essence’ in Pirelli contract talks
20 April 2013
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has admitted that the company would like an answer sooner rather than later when it comes to remaining as F1's sole tyre supplier.
Pirelli's current contract expires at the end of the season and, while Hembery intimates that the Italian manufacturer would be interested in remaining in the sport, he points out that there are other areas into which its resources could be diverted, particularly if the teams continue to prevaricate over a decision.
While the contract should be put out to tender, Hembery has suggested that an extension could be agreed by the FIA, and F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has intimated that, in his opinion, Pirelli could return next year, but the eleven competing teams also have a say, and have yet to reply.
"Time is of the essence, I would suggest," Hembery suggested during the opening day of the Bahrain Grand Prix, "I've got a pretty good idea when [the deadline for a decision] is going to be, and I've urged the teams to decide what they want very quickly. We won't - and cannot - hang on forever.”
The Briton is particularly aware that, with the recession having a knock-on effect for sales of Pirelli products, the company's board could turn its back on F1 at any time, and is keen to see its involvement agreed sooner rather than later.
"I had to present a document for our board again last month, and it went back to them again to review the project,” he told reporters, “The sport is a good platform for Pirelli going forward, but big companies come under a lot of pressure. It's not my decision whether Pirelli stays in F1, it's the shareholders of the company and, at a certain point, someone has to make a decision somewhere.”
Pirelli has come under fire from the teams during the first three rounds of the season, after revisions to its F1 range produced concerns over degradation levels, particularly from the softer compounds.
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