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Pirelli confident it has paddock support

ESPNF1 Staff
May 11, 2012 « Race temperatures concern Massa | McLaren opts for Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test »
Pirelli is happy the F1 paddock backs its tyres' characteristics © Sutton Images
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Pirelli is confident the vast majority of the paddock supports its tyre philosophy and it has no plans to change its approach to make the tyres degrade less quickly.

In Bahrain, Michael Schumacher argued that the tyres are having too much of an influence on racing because drivers have to preserve tyres rather than push to the limit. In Spain several drivers came out in support of Pirelli's tyres, arguing that they provide good racing even if they are difficult to manage over a race distance.

On Friday, Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said he was not overly concerned about the comments from Schumacher, adding that the tyres would only change if the whole paddock or the fans changed their stance.

"There has been one particular comment made in the last few races," he said. "At the end of last season the number of people that had come to see us to say they were unhappy was zero and the number of people that have come to us this season and said they are unhappy is one. So you've also got to be relatively pragmatic.

"Unfortunately he's also one of the most famous drivers of all time probably so it has a certain weight and we fully understand Michael's view. It's something that he'd like to see and if the fans ultimately want that - we and the teams are probably more interested in what the fans say - if the fans want us to change something we will. But even then we have to have a balanced viewpoint and we tend to go on viewing figures because you can't go on forums because, as I've seen, the vast majority are slightly misinformed and that's down to all of us to inform them a bit better."

"Some people thought we were maybe going off on our own doing these things, but absolutely not - we do what the sport wants. If they want a tyre that lasts all of the race with no degradation then we'll do that, if they want what we've got now we'll stay and if they want something in the middle we can do that. But it's not something that you want to be changing every five minutes because the teams invest a lot of energy and a lot of money in trying to maximise a package to know what the challenge is and that's what they're working on now."

He said Pirelli would not make any swift changes to accommodate any single driver's opinions and warned that a more conservative approach, like Pirelli adopted when it went to the Indian GP with limited knowledge of the circuit last year, would likely provoke a more negative reaction.

"If you make a knee-jerk reaction and go in another direction you can maybe throw things out the window that you don't want to," he added. "We were shocked, not so much now, but after India when we had a very dramatic negative reaction to a very boring race in the eyes of the public. We got a lot of reaction to that, and we were heavily criticised [by people] saying why now are you being so conservative?"

He said Pirelli can switch its approach to the compounds if needs be, but that it is currently focusing on the structure of the tyre.

"If you want tomorrow morning we can go to vastly improved degradation where you do your quali, come in after two laps change the tyres and finish the race. If that's what the sport wants we can do that tomorrow morning. At the moment we're going ahead, we already have in place a number of solutions if we have to go that way, but at the moment we are working on new structures and a different type of feel to the tyre compared to the current one."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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