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Hembery plays down tyre change fears

22 May 2013

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has attempted to calm the disquiet arising from the tyre manufacturer's decision to revise its F1 product from Montreal.

While complaints that the current specification degrades too quickly reaching a new high after most drivers were forced to make four stops in order to complete the Spanish Grand Prix, the announcement that a revised design would be introduced as a solution has been met with an equal reaction.

Many fear that the revisions - which will see both the construction and compounds tweaked in order to increase longevity, reduce the sort of failures seen in recent races and bring the number of pit-stops back in line with pre-season expectations - go too far in favour of current points leader, and reigning world champion, Red Bull, but Hembery insists that the changes will not be that radical.

"What we're trying to do is find the mid-ground and that's where we're at,” he told Reuters, β€œThe changes required would appear less than first envisaged.

The recent spate of failures – most notably affecting Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta across the Bahrain and Barcelona weekends – have provided legitimate reason for Pirelli to be able to change the construction of its tyres on 'safety grounds'. Without that, the agreement of all eleven teams would have been required to permit any alteration to rubber which would have been used as the basis for 2013 car designs.

While Red Bull and Mercedes have led calls for change, Lotus and Ferrari have been amongst the most vocal critics of the decision to bring new ideas to the Canadian race [ see separate story]. Both have honed their cars to get the best out of the existing tyres, with the Scuderia pointing out that Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had also used four stops to win the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix [ see separate story].

Hembery, however, insists that the 'new' tyres would be kept as close to the 2013 specification as possible while addressing the delamination problems.,

"Some teams have worked in a certain way to maximise the tyre and chassis package and they obviously don't want that to be lost by radical change," the Briton continued, "We're trying to find something that is sportingly equitable amongst the vast majority that allows us to rid ourselves of the tread [problem]. We're hopeful we can do that without making such a change that would radically alter the work of any team so far."


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