Pirelli plan tyre changes to prevent four-stoppers

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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Pirelli say they will make changes to their tyres to ensure four-stop strategy races don’t become commonplace.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the Spanish Grand Prix was an especially demanding race “because of the unique characteristics of this circuit”.

Hembery said the layout of the Circuit de Catalunya led to “high levels of degradation, which should not be seen again to this extent for the rest of the year”.

“Our aim is to have between two and three stops at every race, so it’s clear that four is too many,” he said. “In fact, it’s only happened once before, in Turkey during our first year in the sport.”

“We’ll be looking to make some changes, in time for Silverstone, to make sure that we maintain our target and solve any issues rapidly.”

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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77 comments on “Pirelli plan tyre changes to prevent four-stoppers”

  1. It’s for the best, but as always, F1’s best will always shine under the circumstances.

  2. Looks like Even Pirelli could not stand this terrible race…… Did’nt take too long for Paul to admit the mess up !!!!!

    1. I admire Paul, he’s very good at what he does.

  3. I think the overreaction needs to be toned down a bit. Yes the tyres are tricky. But I’m certain the teams will adapt sooner rather than later. Changing compounds under pressure from teams would only serve to dull races even further. From 4 stops we’ll be down to 1 stops instead of the desired 2/3 and then the armchair experts will be up in arms again!

    1. There is also another Problem
      The Sudden Delaminations are due to construction of the Tires. They need to make it a bit tough. so they over all need to change the tires

    2. I’m more worried about the championship being won by the team who plays the fan-card moaning game the best. If they make the tyres more durable, then its only going to take the advantage away from Ferrari/Lotus and hand it to Merc/RBR.

      They should leave it as is.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        12th May 2013, 18:17

        Tyres destroying themselves was a problem for all, even Ferrari and Lotus (a shame to see how Raikkonen had to go on cruise mode to save the tyres) and of course there are teams which can’t stand the yres at all (poor Hamilton, if he was considering a return to McLaren he closed the door days ago with his comments)

      2. @joshua-mesh

        I don’t think so. However, I don’t want to see a team winning just because their car is kinder to the tyres.

    3. @sankalp88, please explain why your views are not the views of an armchair expert also.

      1. @hohum

        I entirely agree, my views are nothing more than those of an armchair expert. I was only emphasizing, in my capacity as an ‘armchair expert’, that the tyre situation has been blown out of proportion. This isFormula 1, an ever changing formula of rules and technical regulations (which include tyres). Paul Hembrey should be apologizing to no one. It’s the same for everyone. And the teams should deal with it. Unless we start having incidents like Kimi in Nurburgring 05′ – these tyres are just fine.

        1. @sankalp88, funny both of us “experts” but holding totally opposite views.

    4. @sankalp88 You do realize changes needed to be made already correct? Due to the fact that Pirelli have a major issue with the actual tire construction to the the tire canvas…so changes needed to be made either way, the teams getting angry with each passing race is just the cherry on top.

  4. Pirelli are coming under a lot of pressure at the moment but I don’t feel it’s entirely justified. Yes, the racing today was too dependent on tyres. But remember, Pirelli are simply doing what was asked and have admitted the tyres are getting a bit over the top. I really appreciate how Pirelli are trying to get the right balance, they’re going to get it wrong sometimes, but they accept that and are willing to change. So much better than the tyre-war days. People should put away the rose-tinted glasses and be pleased we have a supplier that think of the sport before their reputation.

    1. Pirelli are simply doing what was asked

      Wish people would stop that excuse.

      Its true they were asked to make tyres that degraded to force strategy, However its 100% down to Pirelli on how far they have taken it.

      In 2011 they had the balance perfect, The tyres wore out & forced strategy yet could still be pushed hard.
      It was Pirelli who decided to change everything in 2012 & make the tyres more extreme & it is totally down to Pirelli that they changed things further this year.

      1. no, it is also up to the teams also to build a car that can work with the tyres, and also up to the drivers to adapt. looks like Ferrari with Alonso and Lotus with Raikonned have done so better then the others, and Mercedes as usual have not. last year it took a few races, and this year it will too, but the pecking order will soon be established.

        1. Ferrari had 4 stops!

        2. So you will be happy if Pirelli make more durable tyres and Mercedes and RBR adapt to them better than Ferarri and Lotus ?

        3. You have a horrid memory of how things went down. Last year the pecking order wasn’t know till after the halfway point and even still there were 6 drivers that were in the running for the championship, 5 of them former champions…

          As for the adapting, every years since Pirelli have become the main tire provider, teams have had to adjust more and more because the tires wear away more and more with each passing year. The teams shouldn’t have to make their cars go slower and slower, to promote longevity of tires. Pirelli are in the wrong and your idea of Ferrari having great tire control isn’t reality. Their car isn’t that good on tires, hence the four stops, Alonso and Massa just watched them carefully. Even still they had to make earlier stops than the strategy called for. Lotus are the only team (and marussia) that can say they have no tire qualms.

  5. changing the tyre profile again will only make it worsts…..

    team couldn’t adapt to new changes.

  6. I saw a fan of a driver who swore at Paul Hembery on twitter bcz his driver virtually raced in reverse gear. Come on guys, Pirelli have made the sport more exciting than it has been in the past decade. I know many of you say telling drivers to ‘slow down’ is bad racing. But what you fail to understand is F1 is also an engineer’s sport. A good car like Lotus wont eat up its tyres. A not-so-good car like Mercedes will do that. A good car also has a good suspension, COG, COP, etc which affect tyres.
    So everytime you hear ‘slow down’ on the radio, remember that an F1 car is first designed by engineers and then raced by drivers!

    1. COTD sir! – So few remember Schumi’s era!

    2. 23kennyboy23
      12th May 2013, 17:37

      And in 2011/12 Pirelli got it right. This year however, they have it very wrong.

    3. @malleshmagdum I hate when people use the Bridgestone excuse in that way: it isn’t a simple black-and-white “we either have 4 stop races or no stop races”. There is a middle ground, which is what happened towards the end of 2012 and throughout 2011 and I thought the racing then was brilliant personally! This is just rubbish (the season as a whole has been okay, but today was a step too far).

      1. @vettel1 just one race Max….Not that all races have been having 4 stops

        1. @malleshmagdum of course, but I still think a default three is too much. A default two or one, as per the end of last year, would be fine as that still means drivers are pushing enough so we have racing but it isn’t all processional.

        2. @malleshmagdum

          What about those tyres that don’t last more than 7 laps and start falling off at lap 4-5? C’mon, even Pirelli has acknowledged they’ve got it wrong.

    4. @malleshmagdum You have raised a good point.. however, imagine PDR and JEV facing a similar tyre issues (threads coming off and exposing the inner belt) in other circuits like Monaco. It’s not really safe is it? It seems Pirelli are taking “Manufacturing aggressive tyres” to a different level. We saw in 2005, teams using Micheling tyres were opting to sit out at Indianapolis citing safety concerns. Pirelli are fortunate that they are the only tyre supplier in the last three years.

      1. @icemangrins I agree that the failures are bad. But, I don’t think it’s related to the compound. It’s just construction which needs to be strengthened. It wouldn’t affect racing.

        1. @malleshmagdum I’m not sure how they are unrelated. While Pirelli have been really consistent, the brief comparison of the fastest lap below does indicate that the drivers don’t really push any more these days

          2010 1:24.357 on lap 59 (B)

          2011 1:26.727 on lap 52 (P)
          2012 1:26.250 on lap 53 (P)
          2013 1:26.217 on lap 56 (P)

          1. @icemangrins When I say that I mean that u wont see a different Spanish GP if Pirelli changed construction. Regarding ‘not pushing’ my comment explains my view on that.

        2. @malleshmagdum how is one irrelevant to the other? IF a tire is too aggressive in nature and the structural stability of said tire isn’t their, then failures are going to be more evident rather than if the tires were conservative in nature. They absolutely go hand in hand the fodder that Pirelli have been using even more so this year with “debris” being the cause isn’t right and they finally admit it this weekend.

          1. isn’t there* rather

    5. @malleshmagdum I get what you mean, but I think there is more tho these changes than Pirelli is let in see. Paul Di Resta and Hamilton both have had structural problems during practice because of “debris”. I don´t buy it. Pirelli is finding out that they made a mistake by being to agressive or by actually not predicting what was going to heppened.

  7. To be honest, i don’t get why they changes tyres for this year at all. What was wrong with the 2012 tyres? Nothing, in my oppinion. Even if teams would get 100% on top of thing, they could have just switched to softer compounds and balance it out for a healty challange for the teams.

    1. 23kennyboy23
      12th May 2013, 17:37


  8. I think 1/2 is ideal, not 2/3. In order for that to work best though we need to get rid of the rule that states both compounds have to be used I think.

    1. @vettel1 I don´t agree, tyres need to be look at, but the rule need to stand, so if you run in the harder compound nad can make it with out a pit stop you can do it? The rule is ok.

      1. @celeste I’m not really understanding what you disagree with: do you not think drivers should theoretically be able to go to the end of the race on one set of tyres? I think that’d be okay, as long as it wasn’t easy (so essentially, the tyres life at full speed would not be sufficient to reach the end of the race, but you could stretch it if you drive conservatively).

        I wouldn’t really want that situation to be commonplace (I prefer it when every driver makes at least one stop) but it’d be fine every once in a while at a low-deg track (like Monaco).

    2. @vettel1,I think zero is ideal, pit stops are for endurance racing like LeMans 24hr or Indy 500. Introducing it to F1 was just one of Bernies gimmicks that not only reduces the drivers role in winning it is hugely expensive and wasteful. Pirelli have to generate huge amounts of publicity in order to justify the cost of making and shipping all these thousands of tyres for every race, I say let them produce only 2 tyres, both capable of 320Km of racing with the softer being marginally faster but more susceptible to wear related performance loss. then let the driver/team choose which to use, like they do in MotoGP, which is currently much more exciting than F1.

    3. @vettel1 one of the few things I agree with you upon, and glad others think the same. I don’t like the mandatory idea of teams having to use both compounds, teams should be given full liberty to be their course maker, and when it doesn’t work should only have themselves to blame.

  9. Really?? You don’t say!

  10. Even I thought 4 stops was ridiculous. Tyres were lasting no more than 10 laps before drastically dropping off, now I think something has to be done. Those were the hardest compounds of the 4 as well, crazy.

  11. just give all the teams standard hardware..like a standard chassis and standard engine and strict setup rules.. then we shall see real racing regardless of what tyres Pirelli provide. this ofcourse is pure fantasy,

    1. @venom what you have just proposed is worse than a spec series: I would hate that, as I think the constructor’s aspect of the sport is possibly the most important aspect behind of course the driver’s championship.

      I’d hate that, as then you have pretty much just made the team’s job redundant (and several hundred jobs for that matter).

      1. I agree with you, thats y I said pure fantasy.., i am not sure how f1 can sort itself out with the fact that teams dominate and provide less exciting racing for the viewers. I don’t think all this tyre talk is really doing any good. if todays teams had tyres from say 2004, I don’t think the result would have changed much on how the race ended today..yes maybe the mercs would be further up the field.. but the ferrari would have still won..and the race probably dull as it was today..I just don’t know how the FIA can create more competition, hence the reason for my previous post..

        1. @venom I can see where you’re coming from, but the solution is assuredly not to create a spec series! If that happened, I would bet that we’d see a split akin to the CART IRL split, which wouldn’t at all be good for F1.

      2. and save heaps of money, the team would still work, look at series like in IndyCar or Nascar with similar spec cars, the best teams still win.
        CART was a great series with great racing in the 90s, all similar spec cars, but manufacturers involved too.

        1. It’s still a terrible idea: F1 is supposed to be about innovative ideas and technical developments, so removing that aspect for the sake of closer competition and reduced costs is not what F1 needs to do.

          If anything, I think the rule book needs to be opened up – we don’t need every aspect of the cars to undergo homologation!

      3. +1.

        Great minds would be no more than consultants without relevance. I’m talking about Newey, Tombaziz, Lowe, Allison and others..

        GP2 is spec, and I prefer F1.

    2. GP2 and GP3 there. They feature in European races on the F1 calendar. Worth watching, entertaining, but spec racing is not for F1.

  12. If anything would help the sport would be competition. What about having Michelin, Dunlop, Bridgestone et all to come into the sport and work with the teams? Instead of having one single brand, teams would work with their brand for the best possible combination within the FIA specifications. I guess that Eclestone benefits for the huge amount that Pirelli must pay for being THE F1 official partner, but maybe having several might just be as good financially and we would benefit, as each team would try to optimize their balance with the best tire for them.
    There has been enough technical improvement, that would probably allow the different tire manufacturers to build them to each specific team. Competition drives the world, let it drive the F1 as well…

    1. We had this tyre war before. All it resulted was millions upon millions being wasted in a tyre war, something the sport can ill afford at this time.

      And what did the fans get out of the tyre war? Nothing, other than there either being a “superior” tyre brand which meant if you were on the right rubber in a season, your chances of winning greatly increased for the whole season.

      1. Every year there are technology changes. These allow manufacturers to make quick changes at lower costs. Your knowledge of the past should not affect your options for the future. Indeed there were some lessons learned. I didn’t say 2 manufacturers, I said open the competition.

      2. it might be different now, because of limited testing. before we had Bridgestone focus on only one team (Ferrari) fighting Michelin that had to accomodate 5 or so teams

        1. Yes, and that gave Michelin a significant advantage since they had data coming in from three top teams (McLaren, Renault, Williams) versus Bridgestone who only had data coming in from Ferrari. Michelin had 3x the test miles, 3x the data, etc. It’s amazing what Bridgestone were able to do fighting such a deficit.

      3. Tyre war is not the solution. I was happy with second part of 2012 and 211 season. Pirelli pushed too hard. Tyres are not suppose to last an entire race but drives should be able to make at least 1/3 of race on a set of new tyres.

  13. “”Hembery said the layout of the Circuit de Catalunya led to “high levels of degradation, which should not be seen again to this extent for the rest of the year”.”

    Well, i wonder why last year they brought soft and hard to barcelona, if it’s such a terrible tire-eating circuit. Yep.

  14. I’d quite like to see them add a “super hard” tyre for races like these, and maybe remove the super soft too. No big changes mid-season.

    However, as @rjoconnell correctly stated, the best still shine brightest whatever tyres are brought.

    1. The Super Soft is needed for races like those in Monaco or Canada, where the Medium (as a prime, with the Soft as the option) would just be to hard. Also, adding a “Super Hard” tire would be useless for most circuits and would increase the costs beyond any justification. I think the current range of tires, (SS, S, M, H) is fit for Formula 1, but they have to tweak the compounds a bit. I hope they will bring new compounds for 2014, because now they’ve changed so much that is almost impossible to know what’s wrong. They need to start fresh (like in 2011, but with more data)…

  15. Hembery said the layout of the Circuit de Catalunya led to “high levels of degradation, which should not be seen again to this extent for the rest of the year”

    Paul Hembrey & his excuses are becoming annoying.

    We saw similar levels of degredation in testing & he said it was just because of the low temperatures & it would be better in the higher temps expected for the race.
    They changed the hard compound for this weekend as a result of data gathered so far & degredation was still just as bad.

    The degredation has been terrible all year so far & has been negatively affecting every race this year, We can see this by everyone driving to a lap delta at every race.

    If things continue like this for the rest of the year I think Pirelli should be shown the door!

  16. Kimi Raikkonen after todays race-

    It is too easy to overtake, so no point to really fight again because you cannot hold him behind.

    Just shows how wrong the new F1 is :(

  17. Only 1 man in F1 who wants these tyres to stay. he goes by the name of Kimi Raikkonen

    1. I don’t think Alonso is all that upset with them…

      1. Neither was Vettel when he won in Bahrain and Malaysia… I dont think drivers would complain if they were winning :P

  18. Not sure if this is a clever move. They’re moving the goal posts and I’m sure that after the race at Silverstone and beyond, there will be many that will be complaining that Pirelli are changing to favour X or Y. I feel for Ferrari, Lotus and, to an extent, Toro Rosso, as they’ve managed to master the tyres. They were smart enough to build a car which doesn’t take too much out of their tyres, whereas Newey/Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren et al have gone for high downforce setups, with little compromise.

    1. I should probably hold my hands up and say that I am a big supporter of Ferrari, Fernando and Kimi. However, F1 is hard enough for the neutral, casual viewer at times. Imagine explaining this one in a few weeks time!

  19. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    12th May 2013, 18:34

    The tyres should not be what drivers talk the most about, but unluckily it is this way. It was a shame to listen to Rosberg asking: “should I defend or keep the tyres?”. These guys are there to race, now they are being pushed to cruise. They have just the first laps with new rubber to do something. (Hats off for Alonso and another great start). When Alonso escaped from the pack, his lap times also depended from the F’in rubber. I want to see a race which finishes in close battle, or why not, if the samurai has the best car of the weekend, escape from the rest and lap everybody. But I want to see them going 100%. Ask Hamilton if he was racing or crawling. For the tyres, all for the tyres.

    1. @omarr-pepper Funny that a “true-bred racer” like Hamilton needed to crawl more than his teammate despite visiting his team four times(to Rosberg’s three) for tyre changes..

  20. Racing? You call THIS racing? There was NO racing, there were just drivers perambulating the circuit at the maximum speed their statistician’s told them would not activate the Pirelli’s self-destruct device. Cars did manage to overtake each other on occasion but most passing wasn’t overtaking, it was merely intersecting nodes of the variant tyre strategies.

    The racing has been ***** over the entire disinte-Pirelli era but now it’s so bad, even the blokes in the cheap seats are complaining. When Hamilton begins a race sandbagging, then tapers off, and still cannot manage better than coming 12th, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Hembery no doubt will take advantage of the opportunity to remind us all how “boring” the racing was before he arrived.

  21. Once again Pirelli seem to have produced F1 tyres with all the dependability and durability of moist chocolate cake.
    How does that make me feel about their road products?


  22. A tire delaminating is unacceptable. so they have to change the construction anyway.

  23. I fully agree with Will Buxton’s latest article on his blog…

    1. +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  24. They should change the tyres to improve their performance and/or to last more, I dont care if the team decide to go for two three or four stops.

  25. I am disgusted with all of this moaning about tires from several teams who clearly struggle with them. If Pirelli tires were such a failure Red Bull and Mercedes want to make us believe, then how other teams cope with them much better? Pirelli gave clear indications that 2013 tires will be significantly less durable. Lotus and to lesser extent Ferrari did their homework and now are thriving. Mercedes and to lesser extend Red Bull – completely opposite. So the situation is that some teams have failed in adapting to changing conditions of racing in 2013 and now seeing their failure demand to change those conditions instead of changing their cars which were built around wrong concepts. Now I’m asking – is it fair to change the tires just because some big players have failed to understand them? Making a racing car isn’t about creating a vehicle which in theory on some imaginary circuit with imaginary tires can go the fastest. It’s about making a car which can go fastest on racing distance in the given conditions, with given tires. It’s not like we are seeing a tire disaster like 2005 US GP, we see tires which degrade fast, faster on some cars, slower on other. Changing tires now “on demand” is absurd. Now when I hear team officials and drivers slamming Pirelli, I just want to turn on Rihanna’s “Shut up and drive”.

    1. @cyclops_pl My point exactly…

  26. How much of the rear tyre problems particularly overheating is due to the design of the cars now. They are all trying to get the coanda effect on their cars so that they are blowing hot exhaust gases onto vanes on the rear brakes to increase downforce, this must have some impact on heating the tyres particularly as it is so close and especially is this is not working correctly. Paul Hembry said in an interview that they do not have a test car anymore so I presume this cannot be easily tested by them.

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