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Pirelli closing on agreement over tyre changes

ESPN Staff
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Pirelli is planning to change the rear tyres only © Getty Images

Pirelli says it is close to agreeing on changes to the tyres for the Canadian Grand Prix after facing opposition from some teams over its original proposal.

After the Spanish Grand Prix, Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said his company was considering making changes to "compounds and structure" to return to two- to three-stop races. However, since then Pirelli has decided only to change the belt material on the rear from steel to Kevlar - similar to the one used in last year's tyres - with the main aim of reducing the risk of delamination under safety grounds.

However, when Pirelli consulted the teams on its proposed changes, Force India were opposed to the plans and questioned the need for a tweak based on safety grounds. Nevertheless, Hembery insists the teams were now close to agreeing on the changes.

"We're very close to having an agreement with all the teams - which is really important - about the changes we want to make to the rear tyre," he said. "We want to get rid of the delamination that we've found is caused by cuts in the tyres that were debris-induced, which created a weak spot in the tyre that caused overheating. We've been able to replicate that now in our laboratories and internal testing and we believe the solution we have will completely resolve that."

The change will also mean the rear tyres work at a lower temperature range, which Hembery admitted may result in some teams getting more laps out of the tyre and being able to make less stops.

"That can have a small impact," he said. "It depends, because a lot of the cars are front limited and that can have an impact on the number of laps you can get out of the tyre but it will be minimal. People talk as if we need to make big changes, but two or three laps on a set of tyres changes you from four to three stops. A lot of teams set out in Barcelona on a three stop but changed it during the first phase of the race to a four."

Pirelli changed the hard tyre at the last race without consulting the teams, but Hembery said the type of changes being proposed for Canada had caused greater division.

"It was a known compound we changed to and they understood the issues we had with the working range of the previous hard tyre," he added. "Now because it risked changing the dynamic of the tyre, in terms of shape and deformation for example, you can imagine there have been a number of teams that have been extremely vocal about wanting dramatic changes and there are a number of equally vocal teams that want absolutely no changes.

"You're stuck in the middle of that and you have to try to find a solution that is sportingly equitable, which means making as few changes as possible, because everybody had the same information and data when we started out on the season and it would be unfair on teams that perceive they are doing well at the moment to penalise them with a change that is too dramatic."