Pirelli motorsports director, Paul Hembery, has denied that an early problem with Pirelli’s 2017 Formula 1 tyres may already have been uncovered after the recent testing programme in Maranello. Back in 2013, F1’s official supplier came under a bright spotlight when several tyres ‘exploded’ during the British Grand Prix.
Pirelli Motorsport Racing Manager, Mario Isola, said during this week: “The incident at Silverstone was a single episode, the cause was identified and we fixed the problem in about seven days.” But now, Pirelli has the task of developing new tyres that will have to go through corners up to 40kph faster than last year and with 20 per cent more downforce, in order to accompany the major aerodynamic rule changes that will be introduced for the 2017 Formula 1 season. Last week at Ferrari’s own private Fiorano circuit, the Germain driver Sebastian Vettel was testing the 2017 rain tyres when he slid into a barrier. As a result, the test had to be cut short after the incident. Pirelli F1 chief Paul Hembery told the German broadcaster RTL: “It was very cold on that day, it was extremely abnormal conditions that made testing very difficult and delicate. It was only 4 degrees, which is very unusual.” – Paul Hembery explained.
Asked if the tyre had suffered a problem, Pirelli motorsports director answered: “Again, to get the tyres to work in those temperatures and difficult conditions was the real problem in this case. The biggest challenge for us is not having seen the new cars. We will probably only see if our data corresponds to reality on Saturday night in Melbourne, which of course is not an ideal situation. Some elements are very difficult to predict, so we have prepared five reserve compounds that can be used if the real track data does not coincide with what we simulated.”