Pirelli continues with old tyres as Lotus refuses to accept tweaks

Pirelli tyres for Monaco

Pirelli tyres for Monaco

Pirelli have shelved plans for Formula 1 teams to race with new-specification tyres in Canada next week, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

She said the modified rear tyres would now be used only in Friday practice in Montreal for evaluation purposes, with each team given two sets, with the hope that they could then be used in the race at the British Grand Prix at the end of June.

“The regulations allow us to bring a set of experimental tyres to Friday practice,” explained the spokeswoman. “We decided to do it that way which gives everyone a chance to test them and hopefully all agree.”

Pirelli want to restructure the tyres to incorporate a 2012-style inner belt made of kevlar, rather than steel, after a spate of failures caused by debris.

The supplier is keen to eliminate ‘delaminations’ – where the tread separates from the body of the tyre without it deflating.

Gerard Lopez with Eric Boullier

Gerard Lopez with Eric Boullier

However any change would have to be approved by all the teams, unless the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) orders it on safety grounds – which has not been the case.

Champions Red Bull have been vocal in calling for the 2013 tyres to be made more durable to reduce the number of pitstops and allow drivers to race harder.

Others such as Lotus, Ferrari and Force India are against the changes because they have got their cars working well with the compounds.

“We will not race tyres that we have not tested first,” Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez was quoted on Wednesday by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

“And we will not allow tyres that change the sporting hierarchy — that would be simply unfair,” he insisted.

“If there is suddenly a team winning that previously had problems with the tyres, then the people at home would feel fooled and turn off the TV.”

Paul Hembery with Bernie Ecclestone

Paul Hembery with Bernie Ecclestone

Lopez also said Lotus does not accept the changes on the grounds of safety, “A tyre that loses its tread is safer than a tyre that bursts. I don’t see it (the safety aspect) as such a big deal — it’s still all about money and politics. But the spectators are not fools.”

“If we are making decisions not on the race track but in offices and committees, then one day there will be no spectators left,” added Lopez.

He also said Pirelli should stand tall rather than be defensive.

“Actually, they should stand up and say ‘We built a good tyre, a tyre that was requested, so the teams will just have to adjust and build reasonable cars’,” said Lopez.

Pirelli have also come under fire for carrying out a ‘secret’ tyre test in Spain with Mercedes after this month’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The matter has been referred to the FIA, who could pass it on to their international tribunal, after protests by Ferrari and Red Bull at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Testing is banned during the season, although Pirelli have it written into their contract that they can carry out a number of 1,000-km tests with a representative car.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said Mercedes, winners in Monaco, had acted in an ‘underhand’ manner by not telling others about the test. He suggested they had gained an advantage by running a current car on tyres to be used later in the season.

Pirelli have disputed that, saying Mercedes did not know what they were testing. (Reuters)


  • Steve

    “The rules state that Formula 1?s sole tyre supplier can only make changes on the grounds of safety or with the unanimous approval of every team.”

    Since the change IS for safety reasons, why do they need the unanimous approval of every team?

  • Odd Lord

    no it is not on the ground of safety. It is on the ground of less pitstops..

    Also the delamination is not that much of a danger..

    and next to that.. safety?? fregg.. i thought they got paid millions to be safe??? xD

  • Steve

    Pirelli have stated that the change is being made on safety grounds. There is no reason why changing from a steel to a Kevlar belt should reduce the number of pit stops – they’re making that change to stop the tyres falling apart.

    And since the change is being made on safety grounds, Lotus should not get a veto.

  • Aberracus

    Pirelli has stated that their 2013 tires are safe. So theres no real reason, for changing for safety reasons.

    that why they are asking the teams for approval.

  • Steve

    “Pirelli has stated that their 2013 tires are safe. So theres no real reason, for changing for safety reasons.”

    Ha ha. Then why are they changing the tyres?

  • Steve

    So Pirelli are going to allow all the teams to test the revised tyres in Friday practice in Montreal. That sounds reasonable.

    Why didn’t they do this to begin with instead of engaging in shady dealings with Mercedes at Barcelona?

  • Steve

    Google “How Pirelli Montreal change will handicap ‘tyre-swapping’ teams” to understand the real reason why Lotus is against any change.

    If Red Bull were “tyre swapping” successfully the practice would be banned.

  • gilbert

    If it’s a matter of safety, the tyres should be change immediately not after 7 races or first killed.

  • Seriously

    it’s not about Red Bull or Lotus, it’s about to make less pit stops. When will you understand that ? You make a car based on the tyres, the tyres don’t have to be made specially for the car or a team.
    If they need more security maybe they should ban some drivers like Grosjean or even Perez.

  • Steve

    Changing the belt will have zero impact on the number of pit stops. That is determined by the rubber compound – the “softness” of the rubber. They are not changing the belt on the rear tyres to change the number of pit stops, they are changing it to try to stop the tyres disintegrating.

    Some of you people seem to know as much about F1 as you do about brain surgery.

  • Flash Flaherity of the Long Ski

    In my experience with race tires for our track and formula car, I liked Kevlar over steel. I found that the steel took longer to heat and recovered more slowly (hard corners or braking segments). I also had more instances of vibration from steel near the tires end. Kevlar was quicker to stabilize, recovers faster, and seemed to be more grippy – but liked more camber – which I guessed was from the carcass being more compliant. I can see how the change could impact degradation, and how it could solve Mercs issue with their over-stiff rear geometry. All it takes is to extend each stint 5-7 laps and teams will find a way to stretch that into eliminating one stop. Lotus may be right at the moment, but its only a matter of a short time before Red Bull matches them, negating any small strategic advantage they now enjoy – leaving them to address their 0.3s/lap slower car with no stop strategy to hide behind.

  • Pirelli is caught in a lie

    Looks like Pirelli has just been caught in another lie. They have stated this year that there tires are safe.

    They attempted to make a tire change and the FIA stepped in and said sorry but the only way the tire may be changed during the season is if it is for safety reasons. Pirelli has already admitted their tires are safe as they are so.

    Now that they have been refused to change the tire construction by the FIA they cry but we are doing this for safety reasons.

    Pirelli has lost all credibility. Why should teams like Lotus be penalized because they spent their limited budget designing their car for the tires Pirelli made only to have the rug pulled out from under them.

    While Redbull, McClaren, Ferrari and Mercedes can absorb the cost of changing their cars mid season the other team do not have 300 to 400 million dollar budgets to do that with.

    It looks like before all this crap is over with Formula One will have a grand total of four teams left and only eight cars at two cars per team or if they put them up to three cars per team they will have a grand total of twelve cars per race. Now factor in each team has a number one driver you will now be watching a race of four cars with the other cars playing nothing but a supporting role.

    Formula One is ruined thanks to the rich greedy teams and Bernie.

  • BobMendon

    Judging from the overall performance of Lotus, I’m not seeing where they are getting a huge advantage from the present composition. However they are clearly getting an advantage. Of course they are going to protest any change being made to the tyres. I just want to see what happens when one of their rear tires delaminate and flails the spoiler or rear suspension. Worse yet when another driver is seriously injured as a result of a delamination.

  • JPSmoove

    So when does the tires falling apart become a safety issue? After someone gets seriously hurt in an accident because of them. Then the FIA will convene a meeting and discuss it. Oh yeah, then the teams vote about it. Rubbish…
    No worries though, Merc got their problems w/ tires sorted out before Monaco. Thanks all. ;-)

  • JPSmoove

    @Steve. Your dead on. And your right, most of the folks have no clue about F1. Me included.. :-)

  • M.

    no matter how i look at it, F1 and Pirelli is in deep sh**. I have lost most reasons to continue watching this “championship”. Maybe I’ll come back next year or maybe not.

  • Mustard


    You right it won’t have a direct impact on pit stops, however it will have an impact on heat.

    Various things will change, how much heat the tires retain, how fast they heat up, how much energy is required to get them to their optimum as well as their optimum temperature.

    Remember these cars are setup on a knifes edge, the optimum operating temperature window of these tires is only a few degrees. Alter their composition and structure and you can end up with a car that doesn’t heat its tires enough or overheats them and then it gets destroyed. Could end up with 5 pit stops for some teams.