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Pirelli look to the future

Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli have been the official tyre manufacturer for Formula One since 2011.

From the start of their development which really got going in 2010, Pirelli have been given a brief to help make Formula One more exciting, with more of an emphasis on tyre strategy.

In 2011 this led for an exciting race season despite a dominant Red Bull team running away with the championship.

In 2012 however the Pirelli tyres have helped significantly towards a record breaking season which has witnessed seven different winners during the first seven races of the season from five different teams.

This has led to mixed reviews, some claiming that Formula One had never been so exciting, whilst seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher heavily criticised the tyres available in the current era of F1 as they didn't allow hard racers to race as they had to be more conservative.

It got to the point where teams were always chasing the 'sweet spot' of the Pirelli tyre, which appeared to be ever evolving throughout a race, let alone a race weekend and almost seemed a bit of a lottery with Mercedes and Williams coming away with the race victories.

In the latter part of the season the balance swung the opposite way, Pirelli's tyre choice became far too conservative and tyre strategy was a non event.

'There were some races where we were criticised - probably correctly, actually - that we were a little bit too conservative. Pirelli's motorsport boss Paul Hembery told Autosport Magazine.

With that in mind the Pirelli tyres for 2013 will be changing once again and this time they hope to find the balance of not being too conservative, whilst not creating a lottery because of the teams lack of understanding of the new racing rubber.

'We are changing the structure of the tyres, changing all the four compounds and being more aggressive, and that will possibly create some challenges initially.

'But we don't foresee the issues that they had in 2012, when the car changes were so dramatic.'

Pirelli have also been giving thought to their future in Formula One. Their current contract runs until the end of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship and a decision on 2014 and beyond has to be settled by June.

Pirelli have always indicated that they want to remain in F1, although appeared set against the idea of a tyre war if a second tyre manufacturer were brought in alongside Pirelli.

Six years ago Formula One raced with both Michelin and Bridgestone tyres. It was one of the least competitive periods of Formula One, with a strong partnership between Bridgestone and Ferrari leading to Michael Schumacher dominating the sport.

Hembery said in August that the sport has to decide what it wants, but said that all it brings is millions of pounds worth of spending on both sides to gain a small advantage, only for that advantage to be taken by the performance of the teams.

In other words it was 'pointless' for tyre manufacturers and it seems unlikely that Pirelli would continue under those circumstances.

Another issue for them going forward could be the current world economy. Which means that any deal currently being negotiated would have to suite them going forward.

Obviously the economic downturn is severe in Europe, but Hembery believes that with Pirelli being a global brand that a decision would not be based solely on circumstances in Europe and the intention is to remain in F1 for the medium-to-long term.

We have provisional approval from the board, Obviously that is based on certain assumptions.

'If those assumptions are met, and the depends clearly on what happens with the promoter and the teams, then we have approval to go ahead.

'If the project costs start to change or if the investment becomes far too great for the return [track side advertising], then clearly that's a different decision.'
he concluded.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 15 2013

Time: 12:00PM


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