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Understanding new tyres will be key to victory - Alonso

ESPN Staff
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Fernando Alonso: "Performance is the second priority after safety" © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso believes understanding the new specifications of tyres over the next two grand prix weekends will be the key to Ferrari rediscovering its form.

After multiple blow outs during the British Grand Prix, tyre supplier Pirelli has brought a new Kevlar belt material for its rear tyres this weekend in Germany and will then bring 2012-style constructions to the Hungarian Grand Prix. The changes have been made in the name of safety, allowing Pirelli to alter the tyres without the agreement of all the teams.

Alonso thinks that getting to grips with the tyres will be the key to success over the next few rounds of the championship.

"Here and in Hungary we will be dominated by the tyres and how they perform on each car," he said. "With the set-up of the car you can win one tenth or two tenths, but the characteristics of the aerodynamics and the tyres you can lose seconds. So we need to adapt quicker than the other teams and interpret the tyres quicker than the others. We will put a lot of effort on that."

Alonso came close to a nasty accident in Britain when Sergio Perez's tyre left rear exploded while he was attempting to pass on the right of the McLaren. The Ferrari driver said the consequences could have been very nasty and he trusts Pirelli has made changes to stop it happening this weekend at the Nurburgring.

"It was a dangerous situation when you watch it on TV," he said. "At that moment I didn't think anything special and I was just trying to overtake people six laps from the end, so I was just concentrating on performance.

"I committed to overtake Perez on the right so I was lucky because if I took the left then it would hit my helmet. There are pieces of steel coming at 300km/h so it would be like a knife and probably enter the helmet and come out the other side. It's not nice.

"We need to wait and see because Pirelli has made some changes. We trust them and we think that they have solved the problem because they probably know how to do it."

The new rear tyres will work best in an operating window roughly 10C lower than the previous steel-belted tyres. Alonso said he was unsure how that would affect Ferrari's performance but said ensuring safety is the priority.

"We need to wait and see," he said. "It's the third or fourth change this season already and some of them hurt us and some of them were good for us. This is a question mark that we need to see. They changed only the rear tyres which is less problematic for us in terms of warm-up - normally we suffer a little bit at the front. But performance is the second priority. What we need to have is a tyre that lasts the race, doesn't endanger anyone and allows you to arrive home on Sunday night."