Current Motorsport Director of Pirelli Paul Hembery has recently dismissed claims that part of the reason for Scuderia Ferrari’s positive performance in the first races of the 2017 Formula One season would be due to its attitude to tyre testing last year.
Along with Mercedes and Red Bull Racing, Ferrari took part in a number of tests at which 2017 compounds and constructions were run, although these were done using a mule car, and had the purpose to simulate the kind of downforce to be expected under the new regulations. While the Maranello team ran both its race drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Mercedes opted to use Pascal Wehrlein, a decision which executive director of Mercedes Toto Wolff said was wrong, but was made due to the fact that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were battling for the (2016) Formula One title.
However, Paul Hembery, who helped guide Pirelli’s return to Formula 1, has categorically denied the suggestion that Scuderia Ferrari or Sebastian Vettel benefitted from this situation, insisting the only advantage the German might have enjoyed was of a psychological nature: “Yes, Sebastian did a lot of testing. It was very intense and he gave us a lot of feedback. That is what we wanted, the top drivers giving us good feedback. But because he didn’t really know what he was testing – he was blind-testing – it might have helped him psychologically, but I doubt it helped practically.” – Paul Hembery said, as reported by the Italian media on Tuesday.
Asked to comment on the problems encountered by Mercedes, the Motorsport Director of Pirelli added: “Actually Mercedes’ issue is linked a bit to certain circuits: in Barcelona they were fine, and in Silverstone and Spa they will be as well. It’s the lower-grip circuits where they’ve had a few more problems, but I am sure they will resolve any issues as we go through the season.” – Paul Hembery concluded.