• Belgian Grand Prix

Spa 'one of the most demanding circuits' for Pirelli

ESPN Staff
August 27, 2012 « Whitmarsh focused on title challenge | Ferrari testing 2014 engine on dyno »
Red Bull secured a one-two at Spa last year despite fears over its usage of the soft tyres © Getty Images
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Pirelli's Paul Hembery says Spa Francorchamps is "one of the most demanding circuits" for the tyre manufacturer.

While the tyres have been central to many of the races this season, Pirelli was under even more scrutiny at Spa last year when Red Bull suffered blistering issues on the soft compound. Heading to the circuit this year, Pirelli has selected the medium and hard tyres instead, and Hembery believes that will see the tyres being less critical.

"The Spa circuit is a personal favourite of mine," Hembery said. "I recently visited the 24-hour race there: the configuration of the track and the variety of the weather always seems to produce some great racing. From a tyre perspective, it's certainly one of the most demanding circuits that we face all year, because of the high speeds and extreme forces involved, which are often acting on the tyres in more than one dimension. The nomination of the hard and the medium tyres will allow drivers to push hard from start to finish, which is what Spa was designed for."

Hembery added that he was looking forward to the second half of the season, with Pirelli having had a big influence on the unpredictable year so far.

"The first half of the season began with the most close and competitive start to a year ever seen in Formula One's history, so I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2012 pans out, and which teams have made which steps forward over the summer break. Currently the grid is so closely-matched - particularly in the midfield - that it's impossible to predict."