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Webber hits out at Pirelli tyres

ESPN Staff
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Mark Webber saw Sergio Perez's tyre delaminate in front of him after his tyre exploded © Sutton Images

Mark Webber has launched another attack on Formula One's quick-degrading tyres, saying it is up to tyre supplier Pirelli to make changes.

Webber has been critical of the tyres since the start of the season, which have been designed to degrade at a faster rate to spice up racing. Midway through the season Pirelli changed the construction of its tyres back to its 2012 specification in reaction to a number of tyre blow outs at the British Grand Prix, but the softer 2013 compounds, which degrade faster than last years, remained in an attempt to keep race strategy interesting.

At the Korean Grand Prix over the weekend all drivers struggled with wear on the right-front tyre due to the nature of the circuit and Sergio Perez suffered a delamination after locking up his right front so badly the tread unravelled on the following straight, with Webber having to take avoiding action behind. Pirelli has consistently pointed out that it was asked to produce quick-degrading tyres by the sport when it arrived in 2011, but Webber said the drivers needs are being overlooked in the pursuit of exciting races.

"That is how it is," he said. "The drivers aren't super important - it is what other people want. The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit. But that is for Pirelli to sort out.

"Pirelli will put the puncture of Perez down to a lock-up but the reason the drivers are locking up is because there's no tread left."

Pirelli motor sport boss Paul Hembery said Webber's complaints are nothing new and insists his company is capable of making longer-lasting tyres if the sport requests a return to one-stop races.

"There are two issues here that Mark is conflating," Hembery told the Daily Telegraph. "Firstly the situation with Sergio's tyre. It was nothing to do with delaminations earlier in the season. He had a major lock-up and flat-spotted.

"The other issue about degradation is the same old story. You can have a philosophical difference of opinion - as Michael [Schumacher] had last year - but we are only doing what we were asked to do, which is to create two to three stops per race. If they want tyres to last all race we can do that, too."

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