- Malaysian Grand Prix
Tyre concerns just a phase - Pirelli
Pirelli has played down the extent to which tyre degradation will dominate the sport this year.
After second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Red Bull's Mark Webber said F1 was now "all about the tyres" and pit stop strategy played a major role in Kimi Raikkonen's victory in the first race in Melbourne. But Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said the same concerns have been raised every year since his company became the sole tyre supplier and he believes the teams will eventually get on top of the tyres.
"You could take the quotes from the last two seasons and at the first three races they are exactly the same," he said. "It tends to be a phase at the start of the year and after six to eight races it all changes. If we look back at the type of comments we have at the start of the year when everybody is trying to find out where they are and maximise the combination of chassis and tyre performance, it tends to start like this and then move away as people get used to it."
Hembery added that Pirelli would not change its approach just because of a few dissenting voices and pointed out that it would be unfair on the teams that already have an advantage.
"The teams have got a challenge," he said. "At the start of the year they went winter testing in conditions that weren't great so they learned very little about the tyres. They've come with a new car and we had a rain-interrupted Australia ... but I have to say the pattern is remarkably similar to the last two years as people are trying to master the situation.
"If we do find that we've been too aggressive or too conservative then we are always open to discussing the situation. But if we were to say we are going to change things now, do you think Lotus are going to be happy? They seem to be in a good position and Ferrari also seem to be alright. You have to be careful that you are not pandering to the whims of one particular group. If everybody is in the same situation then you've got to look at it. We try and minimise that because you risk favouring one team over another."
He said this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix was likely to be another three stopper for most of the teams.
"Three stops, but you've got to bear in mind that there is a big difference between the teams as well. You ought to also note where some people are feeling a little bit more comfortable and that's certainly the case."