By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli has hinted that it could quit its role as sole tyres supplier to Formula One if the sport opts to a ‘pointless’ tyre war.
The Italian tyres manufacturer took over the role from Bridgestone last year and signed a three year deal with the FIA, the sports’ governing body.
However, the closeness of competition this season, which saw a record seven different winners in the first seven races, has led to criticisms that the sport is now too much of a lottery and could benefit from another manufacturer entering the arena.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli, is of the belief that a tyre war – last seen in F1 back in 2006 when Bridgestone and Michelin went head-to-head – would not be the right way to ‘correct’ things, assuming any correction is needed.
He has been quoted saying: “We work for the sport. The sport has to decide what it wants.
“If it [F1] wants a tyre war and procession racing again, like it did in the early 2000s, when the audience disappeared, than that’s one approach. It’s not for us to decide.
“We will wait and see if the rules change. If they change, then we will consider it. At the moment the teams are certainly not interested in a tyre war.
“What does it really mean to have a tyre war [anyway]? If it means spending €100 million to go half a second quicker – and you can’t even prove that you have the better tyre, because the teams will dominate still – it is pointless,” he added.
“Ultimately no-one could really make out what tyres were on what car when there was a tyre war.
“Nobody knew, because all the money was being spent on trying to find performance that the public couldn’t see. And if the public can’t see it, we don’t understand it.”