History of rubber

Pirelli announce tyre changes for the Canadian Grand Prix

Following on from the complaints of teams, drivers and fans alike, Pirelli has confirmed it will alter the tyres it supplies for Formula 1 races from next month’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Red Bull have led the criticisms of the fragile compounds of the tyres following last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that saw race winner Fernando Alonso have to stop four times, whilst the whole field of 22 drivers entered the pits on 79 separate occasions.

Pirelli hope that the changes mean that drivers will not have to stop more than three times in a single race and insist that the alterations have been “made in the interests of the sport”, rather than to favour certain teams, including the current world champions.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told the press: “We hope that [helping Red Bull] won’t be the case, but we always face that risk.

“People will say it is pressure from Red Bull but there has not been excessive pressure from them.”

After the race on Sunday, Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz complained that the nature of the tyres was affecting the state of F1 as a competition, claiming “it had nothing to do with racing anymore”.

Even F1 commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone has had his say, admitting: “The tyres are wrong, not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did half a race.”

However, this condemnation from Ecclestone was apparently not the catalyst for change either, with Hembery insisting: “He was only sharing the comments of the majority, that we had gone a step too far and we needed to come back a bit.

“So I wouldn’t say it was pressure from him, it was really from the fans from a sporting point of view.

“From what we saw on Sunday, we felt, no, this was going in the wrong direction.”

The Pirelli motorsport director claims that the increased wear we have seen in the tyres this season has been a consequence of the increased performance from the leading cars, which have been lapping a second faster than they were in the 2012 season.

“They have basically been stressing everything too much, and probably we underestimated the performance,” Hembery said.

With these revised plans in place for tougher compounds, last month’s announcement of taking the two softest tyres to Montreal in June could be altered. Pirelli are set to advise teams on any updated tyre strategy this week.