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14 May 2013

Pirelli's Problematic Predicament - The Conclusion

It was always going to be problematic. Pirelli could have taken two very differing paths. They could have kept the likes of Ferrari and Lotus happy by keeping the tyres as they were, or they could have responded to critics and complaints by re-structuring their 2013 range.
(c) Octane Photographic
Today the Italian firm announced the conclusion to their difficult predicament, they caved from the pressure and decided to go with the latter route. The changes will come into place in two rounds time at the Canadian Grand Prix, meaning the current Pirelli rubber will bow out in style at the sixth round of the season in Monaco.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's Motorsport Director, announced the changes in a press release. Despite previously rejecting claims that the tyres needed to be tweaked, the Spanish Grand Prix hit Formula 1's supplier hard after a barrage of complaints from teams, drivers, media and the fans. Responding to them, he said that the "new range" will mix "the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones."

This will come as a welcome relief to many due to the expected decrease in tyre delaminations, something that we have seen far too much over the first five rounds of the 2013 world championship. However whilst others will be celebrating the changes (Red Bull, Mercedes), those who have worked hard to get on top of the tyres will inevitably lose their advantage (Lotus, Ferrari).

Continuing, Hembery said "As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary." He added that evaluating the data from the first few races and the Spanish Grand Prix made it clear that four stops was too many. "We've decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was far too high."

Concluding the statement, he admitted that "These changes will mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops."

Earlier in the week he explained that they had predicted a two to three stop race in Spain and that expectations were not met. 

The Italian firm added that limited testing meant that they were unable to unearth the problems earlier, reading "With limited testing time, it's clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we're determined to rapidly resolve it."

Pirelli's decision will be hugely frustrating for Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier who recently said that making changes would "not be fair". He explained that teams like Red Bull should be concentrating more on finding the right balance and sweet spot with the tyres like they have because it is possible.

However the problematic predicament has been decided, the changes will come into play at the Canadian Grand Prix which has been brought forward from the British Grand Prix in late June. 

There will always be winners and losers with this situation, it will be difficult to find a happy medium for everyone and I don't think we will see this until the playing field levels for 2014. I personally feel the same way as Eric Boullier. Why try and help those who are struggling when it is obviously possible to get to grips with the tyres. However I do think two or three stop strategies would still give us an exciting race as shown in 2012 and it will also enable us to see the drivers pushing and racing more to the limit, as well as keeping strategy calls open.

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