By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli have called for a change to Formula One rules to prevent drivers being allowed to put fresh tyres on their cars if a race is halted like Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Paul Hembery, director of motorsport for the Italian tyres manufacturer, told autosport.com that fans watching the race were robbed of a thrilling finale when the race was red flagged with six laps remaining and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel hotly pursued by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
When the race got underway after 21 minutes, Vettel had new tyres and led comfortably to the chequered flag.
Hembery told the racing website: “I can understand there is a safety consideration but I am thinking about it more from a fans’ perspective to be honest.
“I’ve had a lot of people shout at me from the boats around the harbour and say, why were they allowed to change? It took away something from the race – and the big question was could they (the tyres) have lasted?
“That is what we were all asking with six laps to go and that was going to be the excitement: would Sebastian hit the cliff (of tyre degradation)?”
Hembery said the race distance remained unchanged and, like the fans, was disappointed with the finale.
He added: “I don’t really understand why they are allowed to change tyres, but maybe I am missing something.
“I think it was a bit of a shame with the red flag of course, because if they hadn’t changed the tyres, then they would have had to fight to the end as they were all on different strategies, and the tyre wear and life was very different.”