When Sebastian Vettel’s tire exploded at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, there was much fuming from darker corners of the Internet. Why couldn’t Pirelli make a better tire? And if the tires had a habit of exploding, as they have for a while now, why didn’t Pirelli tell anyone? It turns out they did, according to Pirelli.
Pirelli’s maintaining that the company is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it wants to make the best tires possible, as that sort of thing tends to sell tires to consumers. On the other hand, the ruling powers of Formula One want tires to perform at less-than-their best, ostensibly for competition reasons. Which is fine, but if the tires are going to be less-than-perfect, then Pirelli wants it known that there should be some sort of limit on how many laps can be done on one set of tires.
And Pirelli says they’ve been saying this for a while now, in a statement they released after the race:
2015 Belgian Grand Prix - Race
PIRELLI: OUR REQUEST OF TWO YEARS AGO TO FIX A MAXIMUM LIMITTO THE NUMBER OF LAPS THAT CAN BE RUN WITH THE SAME TYRESWAS NOT LISTENED TO
Spa-Francorchamps, 23 August 2015 – Regarding what happened today at theBelgian Grand Prix, Pirelli underlines that: In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to governthe maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tyres,among other parameters to do with correct tyre usage. This request wasnot accepted. The proposal put forward a maximum distance equivalent to50% of the grand prix distance for the prime tyre and 30% for the option.These conditions, if applied today at Spa, would have limited themaximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22.
As we saw this weekend, Pirelli can issue all the advisories and requests it wants, but that doesn’t mean anyone’s going to listen. And getting people to listen has been the main problem, Pirelli’s motorsport director, Paul Hembery, told RACER:
It’s very hard to enforce because you take away maybe the impact of the engineering aspect to the car where somebody might be able to engineer the car to a point where they can reduce the number of pit stops, and at that time it wasn’t feasible to actually introduce it.
Now, maybe we can go back to the advice levels, and say no more than ‘x’ amount of laps on a certain tire.”
So, we’ve got a tire company telling F1 overall what it should do, and a bunch of guys giving strongly-worded advice to F1 teams themselves that they should pull back a bit on the race track.
In unrelated news, Pirelli will probably be changing its name to Cassandra.
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