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Pirelli threaten to walk away from Formula One

May 23, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

F1 Testing in Barcelona - Day Two Getty Images

The pressure on Pirelli may have finally tolled as the Italian tire supplier has openly threatened to walk away from Formula One for the first time.

After receiving criticism from many teams and drivers for producing tire compounds that were too aggressive, Pirelli agreed to a revision of their current design in time for next month’s Canadian Grand Prix. However, with their contract set to expire at the end of the season, Pirelli’s F1 chief Paul Hembery has admitted that a renewal may not be viable.

“Apparently on September 1st, we are meant to tell them [teams] everything that they need to know with the tires for next season, but now we are in mid-May,” Hembery said in an interview with multiple publications.

“You can imagine how ludicrous that is when we have not got contracts in place.¬†Maybe we won’t be here.”

2014 marks a big change in Formula One’s technical regulations, with V6 turbocharged engines set to replace the current V8 configuration. Hembery admitted that the change may be too great for Pirelli to keep up with as well as refining the current tires.

“It is not just a case of maybe putting a harder compound on to this year’s tires – the changes are so dramatic that we will need to do a thorough re-engineering of the tire. That takes time, so the longer is goes on it makes our job impossible.

“There comes a time where we will not have time to do the job any more.”

This will undoubtedly alert many other tire manufacturers that the Formula One contract could be up for grabs, yet they will also be aware of the great pressure placed upon producing the ‘right’ tires. With Honda set to return to the sport in 2015, it may be a sign that the worst of the financial crisis is over, allowing for the likes of Bridgestone or Michelin to return next season should Pirelli opt to walk away at the end of the year.

  1. indycarseries500 - May 23, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Can’t blame them. Spend all that money and just get a bunch of crap from teams/drivers/fans for making tires to the FIA’s specifications.

    • apexassassin - May 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      Stick to Indycar and leave the F1 commentary for those who actually know the facts. You are just regurgitating Pirelli’s press releases which are not only contradictory but also often bold faced lies. If you were watching F1 when Pirelli joined the sport (and have a decent memory) you’d have more facts in which to base your opinions.

  2. sirheady - May 23, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    f1 has nuked all their bridges with every reputable tire manufacturer. Who’s Next?? Goodyear ?? Cooper? Conti?? Can you say Amateur Hour?

    • f1isbest - May 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      sirheady It would be great to see Goodyear back as they were the most winning tyre in F1 history. Can you say “Learn your F1 history”

      • sirheady - May 24, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Obviously I knew Goodyear was involved in F1 prior to Bridegestone running it out of the sport in 1998…

        F1 should have never severed ties with Bridgestone

  3. kellybeaton - May 24, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    I wasn’t a big fan of the new tire selection the first couple of races but the tire degradation has forced the teams to be strategic in a different way, not since refueling have the teams been forced to deal with forced stops.

    One thing I have noticed is that the cars don’t seem to be too bothered by driving on the klag off line. There is passing late in the race like I have never seen in F1, the drivers would never go anywhere near the rubber collecting on either side of a driving lane and now I would hate for Pirreli to leave F1.

  4. apexassassin - May 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    I would love to see Pirelli leave. Their impact on Formula 1 has been a disaster. And with the Formula changing radically for next year, F1 may as well reintroduce the tire war (doubt we’ll see it due to the expense of a developement race)… anything would be better than tire the restricts the cars and drivers. F1 is NOT endurance racing!

    To correct some of the above misconceptions posted by others, these tires produce tons of clag, which results in less grip, more danger, and less passing. The sudden delaminations, which pretty much everyone outside of Pirelli and the ignorant fans seem to agree aren’t being caused by debris is way more dangerous than clag… flying, heavy chunks of rubber, the loss of control (think of what a delamintation thru Eau Rouge would do!). The tires themselves are inconsistent from set to set within the same compound, which makes any proper setups difficult to obtain. And also they positively suck on full full loads. No one ran turn 3 at Barcelona at full speed except Alonso on lap 1 and that isn’t racing. That’s babysitting an inferior product.

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