Pirelli: Maybe F1 will find another supplier willing to work in the dark

Paul Hembery says F1 has to allow testing for Pirelli to stay in the sport

Paul Hembery says F1 has to allow testing for Pirelli to stay in the sport

One of several hot topics in the Montreal paddock is talk that Pirelli is willing and ready to quit Formula 1 at the end of the 2013 season.

Heavily criticised for its 2013 tyres, and now embroiled in ‘testgate’, the Italian supplier is also unhappy with F1’s tight testing limits and the obstacles to tyre specification tweaks being erected by the teams.

Facing the wrath of the FIA’s new international tribunal for accepting Pirelli’s invitation of a private test at Barcelona recently, Mercedes‘ team boss Ross Brawn on Friday sounded uncertain whether Pirelli will still be in F in 2014.

“Discussions about testing for next year will certainly be beneficial for whoever the tyre supplier is in the future,” he said.

La Repubblica said that Paul Hembery repeated Pirelli’s recent quit threat on Friday, “if we are unable to do some tests with the new tyres before the start of the season”.

Prototype Pirelli tyre tested in Canada

Prototype Pirelli tyre tested in Canada

“We cannot continue to work in the dark,” he added. “By September first we need to provide the specifications for next year, but we don’t even know what the cars are going to be like.

“We believe that the [2014] tyre should be wider, but we don’t know by how much. This year, because of the lack of tests…we ended up with these cases of delamination, and then because we couldn’t go onto a track we had to remedy it in the laboratory.”

And, still, the teams refuse to agree to the new tyres due to debut at Silverstone later this month.

“We have heard that Lotus will not accept any changes,” Hembery is quoted by Finland’s MTV3.

“If that’s right, we will use the same tyres for the rest of the season. There may be some more four-stop races, but what can we do?”

Indeed, Hembery said Pirelli may have to revert to using glue during the construction of the unchanged 2013 tyres to stop the tread separating from the carcass.

“Either we get the agreement of all the teams, which I think is unlikely,” he said, “or we will have to have some other ideas.”

Pirelli's Paul Hembery and Marco Tronchetti Provera with F1 team principals during happier times

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery and Marco Tronchetti Provera with F1 team principals during happier times

He is quoted by Italy’s La Repubblica: “We don’t want to have another season like this one. Our (Formula 1) contract is expiring. Will F1 be without tyres? I don’t know, but that’s not our business. Who knows, maybe they’ll find another supplier willing to work in the dark.”

Even Pirelli president Marco Tronchetti Provera is being asked about the ‘tyre-gate’ scandal, telling Tuttosport: “It doesn’t concern us. We have followed the rules and we will continue to do so.”

Hembery, on the other hand, sees the situation as the moment to set out Pirelli’s conditions for staying beyond 2013.

“We will wait for the tribunal, but then there will be several elements that need to be discussed. We are talking about issues that have a clear impact on our business.

“This is not just a matter of waiting for the truth to come out,” he is quoted by Canada’s La Presse, “but also a question of doing things differently in the future.”

Auto Motor und Sport, meanwhile, took the opportunity to float a conspiracy theory.

“Does Jean Todt have a secret agenda, and wants Pirelli to get so angry that they leave voluntarily, opening the door to Michelin?” correspondent Michael Schmidt wonders. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Ronnie

    negotiating tactic

    Can they make tyres or not?
    Maybe not.

  • Bye Pirelli you won’t be missed

    Bye Pirelli you will not b missed. I have been a backer of yours but your recent actions I can no longer back the company Pirelli. Please stop with the hollow threats as you sound just like Mercedes and their hollow threats about quitting Formula One.

    Mercedes keeps saying how integrity is so important to them yet they went and cheated in your tire test.

    You know what they say, birds of feather flock together.

    I for one will not miss either Pirelli or Mercedes and encourage both to leave Formula One.

  • Ian Chalmers

    I do not know what all the fuss is about, the FIA is discussing a deal with KWIK FIT for the 2014 season.

  • fapper

    Blame the FIA, not Pirelli. Pirelli is just following what the FIA wants on how the tyres degrades.

  • Not Bernie

    I’ll agree with flapper. The FIA won’t allow tyres to be tested on current cars for fear of giving one team an advantage. Nor will they allow Pirelli to use a car from last season as it would, they feel, still given an advantage. Without doubt Pirelli are working in the dark.

    This constant talk of tyres in F1 isn’t F1. Tyres are part of it, but so is the drivers and the engineering of the cars.

    But most of all F1 is a sprint race from start to finish. Not a mini endurance race.

  • KevinW

    The issue is with Pirelli, who believe it is their job to manipulate competition, so need to test with all current cars to determine what works and doesn’t for each. They should simply focus on building good tires. That can be done with the chassis they have using different settings to test loading on each corner to develop car-neutral behavior. The protestations otherwise are unfounded. They should have never attempted to manipulate tires to deliver less than optimal performance (regardless of what Bernie asked for) and are paying the price for it. Interestingly enough, they have stated they did not need or request the current Merc, but now they do or did? This entire issue raises serious ethical concerns for Pirelli, indicating perhaps they are not right for F1, good riddance.

  • lolol

    Its rather unlikely that any other tire supplier will want to work with F1 given the bad publicity Pirellli has had for doing what the FIA asked.

  • Apex Assassin

    Pirelli just need to stfu. I know soap operas with less whinging and contradictory drama.

    Even Michelin would be a welcome return!!!

  • grat

    I suspect Paul Hembry has nailed why Bridgestone and Hankook have both refused to be involved with the 2014 F1 season. It’s going to be a disaster– You guys think the tires are bad this season, next season they’re going to be much, much worse– either that, or we’ll be back to the Bridgestone era of 1 stop racing.

    I doubt any manufacturer will step in at this late date, so if Pirelli drops, there may not BE a 2014 F1 world championship.

  • Fletcher

    I don’t understand why test with Mercedes who are fighting for the championship. If they really just need a 2013 chassis why not a Marussia or Caterham. Even Sauber would have been a good choice as they also have a problem getting the tyres to work, have the resources but are not in contention for the championship. Pirelli and FIA made a mess of this season.

  • meanmoodymidget

    Pirelli Tyres are a joke !
    They are ruining the sport of F1 Racing !
    Why you say ? . . . Because both Alonso and Hamilton have both publicly said they are only driving at 80% due to the excessive wear of the tyres . . Time to change, the sooner the better !