• British Grand Prix - FP2

Tyres not the reason for lack of running - Pirelli

ESPN Staff
July 6, 2012 « Aquaplaning causes Alonso crash | Button believes Friday conditions would stop race »
Bad weather led to teams limiting their running on Friday © Sutton Images
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Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery believes the lack of running during Friday practice for the British Grand Prix was symptomatic of the team's competitive nature and unwillingness to risk a car in the wet, rather than a lack tyres.

Under the regulations the teams are allocated three sets of full wet tyres over the weekend, and several drivers said they did not run in the rain as they wanted to save their tyres for qualifying and the race. However, Hembery pointed out that the full wets are good enough for at least 60 laps per set and therefore the teams were never going to run out of tyres completing normal Friday mileage.

"If you've got three sets [of full wets] you can do 180 laps, so you can't say you don't have the tyres," he said.

Hembery added that the reason the teams limited their running was because there was nothing to learn from the track and going out for the sake of it would mean putting the cars at risk, while the tyres would be a tiny bit worse off than their rivals.

"If you [the teams] are saying 'it disadvantages me if my competitor doesn't go out and I want to follow suit', then it's a slightly different challenge, isn't it? I think it's a little bit more complicated than saying 'we don't have enough tyres'. If you had six sets of tyres today would you have gone out even more?"

To combat a lack of running on wet Fridays, the regulations allow for an extra set of intermediate tyres to be allocated to the teams if it's raining in the first two practice sessions. To ensure the teams aren't disadvantaged by running on them, that set cannot be used after Friday practice and is handed back to Pirelli. But at Silverstone the weather was too wet for intermediates, with those that tried the shallower-cut tyres struggling to match the pace.

Asked if it was possible to have the same rule for full wet tyres, Hembery said: "We changed the rule on the intermediates and everyone was happy about that and we've ended up with piles of unused intermediate tyres. How many three-day wet races have we had in the last few years? [The last was] five years [ago] or something like that. So do you go and spend half-a-million to a million Euros a year to cover an eventuality that only happens once every five years?

"If you'd had to give back a set of the rain tyres today, would you have had a lot more running? There's another school of thought that says why would you run in conditions that might create an off? Silverstone is more forgiving if you go off, but if you're on a tighter street circuit you probably wouldn't have seen any running even if you'd had unlimited sets of wet tyres.

"Or you might have been waiting for the best conditions, you might have been waiting for the last half hour of Free Practice Two before you go out. Why would you go out in full rain at the start when the weather forecast says it will stop? So there are many factors involved. Saying there's not enough tyres is not as simple as it sounds."

Hembery said a change in the regulations would only make sense if the teams guaranteed the extra tyres would result in extra running.

"You don't want to see [crowds of] 80,000 people with cars not running. You then have to ask yourself what would people have done [with more tyres]? Would they have done 25 laps each in the rain? Only the teams can answer that. Some teams did more laps today and said it was pretty pointless because conditions were that bad. I think maybe it's convenient to blame the tyre quantities from that point of view. Would that have changed what they actually did today? A little bit, maybe, but hugely? Probably not."