Pirelli boss Hembery: Priority is exciting F1
2 March, 2011
Mar.2 (Pirelli) Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery talks about the challenge of developing a brand new range of F1 tyres and how Pirelli can add to the spectacle of Formula 1 in the light of recent criticism from leading drivers including world champion Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
What is the starting point for developing a new range of tyres?
Paul Hembery: There’s a logical process that you have to go through. You start off by defining the profile, which is the basic starting point, and then you work on the compounds and constructions. After extensive modelling and computer analysis, we find the best theoretical solutions and then confirm the results in practice by testing on a circuit. There are a huge number of different parameters to consider, but essentially you have to balance performance, durability and driveability in a very wide variety of conditions.
How different will the 2011 tyres be compared to the tyres that preceded them?
Hembery: The tyre regulations for 2011 are largely the same as last year, in order to provide the teams with technical stability. Having said that, our tyres have a distinct Pirelli identity with different characteristics to those of the previous supplier. We’ve aimed to produce a tyre that will please both drivers and spectators this year, with the objective of helping to improve everybody’s enjoyment and appreciation of Formula 1 throughout the season.
How challenging is it working with 12 new teams?
Hembery: Working with 12 new teams is not a problem at all, but the challenge lies in working with 12 different chassis, which all have their own individual characteristics. Many motorsport championships have a single-make formula, which is obviously a much easier scenario than a championship where everyone is using different solutions to try and gain a competitive advantage. Our job is to make our tyres work well on all these different cars.
All the teams have agreed to run a similar weight distribution; has this made things easier for Pirelli?
Hembery: I think it’s probably made things easier for the teams rather than for Pirelli, as it removes another variable for them. But it probably helps us to help them, although weight distribution is only one factor in the complex equation that makes all the cars quite different.
Can Pirelli tyres add to the excitement of Formula 1?
Hembery: That’s a priority for us, although obviously to start off with we have a certain learning curve to climb. As time goes on, we will be in a stronger position to influence the spectacle. The future of Formula 1 depends on it being an exciting sport that people want to watch, and we believe that we can do a lot to help. We’re aiming to make the steps between the compounds quite notable, in order to promote interesting tyre strategies, and of course we have the option to adjust the amount of grip if this is what people want. We’re always open to every opinion, and happy to propose a variety of different solutions aimed specifically at enhancing the show.
How does Pirelli see the future of Formula 1?
Hembery: We’re very excited about the future, as it’s a fantastic opportunity for both car and tyre manufacturers to explore areas of technology that will ultimately benefit all of us as everyday road users. We want to play an active role in shaping the future development of the sport and enhancing the spectacle of Formula 1 for the public. We’re committed to working closely with all of the teams in order to come up with the most relevant products to today’s market.