It appears that Pirelli hit their first bump in the road as the new sole supplier of tyres to Formula One at the European Grand Prix yesterday.
The 2011 season had been going really smoothly for the Italian tyres manufacturer, but Sunday’s race was described as a ‘bore-fest’ and the soft and medium tyre selection was definitely a bit of a let down.
Paul Hembery, the director of motorsport for Pirelli, admitted that because there had been a lot of overtaking moves in GP2 and GP3 races in Valencia, it was assumed that using the same type of rubber for the Formula 1 cars would have been a winner.
But the decision back-fired as there wasn’t much overtaking on the street circuit and the Pirelli medium compound was rarely used by any team as the rubber was giving two seconds less in speed than the soft tyres.
Hembery said: “From our point of view probably the conservative choice of medium did not help. If we had gone the super soft route – it would not have worked tremendously well here because it is far too hot for it – but people would have had to use it in qualifying and, if they had just got eight laps out of it, it would have pushed people harder on the soft, perhaps to the limit.”
It would have led to more pit-stops and teams would have had more chances to overtake each other, which would have livened the action up.
Hembery added that the race was altogether a boring one as the last seven races of the 2011 season saw more overtaking moves than previous few seasons collectively.
“Having the super soft may well have created a slightly more interesting race, but I have doubts with the overtaking zones that it would not have changed a huge amount. It certainly would not have been as exciting as some of the other races we have seen,” Hembery added.
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team