Pirelli CEO defends the tires the manufacturer supplies to Formula One
Tire blowouts have attracted headlines during the 2013 season
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso described the tires as "not good"
Pirelli is in the third year of its F1 deal and likely to continue in 2014 season
They have blown out in spectacular style and drawn criticism from one of the world’s top drivers, but Pirelli insists there is nothing wrong with the tires it supplies to Formula One.
Pirelli came under intense scrutiny after tire degradation led to four retirements at June’s British Grand Prix, while Ferrari’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso recently described the tires as “not good.”
Pirelli’s CEO has defended the rubber provided by the Italian manufacturer, suggesting some drivers are not using the tires correctly.
“I have to say that he was very nervous when he said that,” Marco Tronchetti Provera told CNN when asked about Alonso’s remarks at October’s Korean Grand Prix, which was won by newly-crowned drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel.
“It was not because of tires – he wasn’t able to win for a number of reasons. If they didn’t use the tires properly, it’s not our fault.”
Pirelli is in the third year of its agreement to supply tires to F1, and Tronchetti Provera does not rule out the possibility of extending the company’s deal beyond 2015.
He warns that, if the working relationship between F1 and Pirelli continues, teams should pay attention to the advised limits of each tire compound.
With F1 bosses asking for tires not to last as long, in order to make the racing more exciting, pit-stop strategies have become more important – and teams have been pushing tires to the limit in their search for an advantage.
“We can do whatever is needed, but with the respect of the rules,” the 65-year-old said. “It means tires have to be used within the limits we provide teams.”
While Pirelli’s reputation in the paddock might have taken a knock, Tronchetti Provera insists the brand itself has not adversely affected by its association with F1 – earning $1.5 billion on sales of over $8 billion last year.
“We had some damages for a few weeks after Silverstone,” he admits, “but I think today people understand it wasn’t Pirelli’s fault.”
The 2013 F1 season continues with the United States Grand Prix in Austin on November 17, before coming to a close in Brazil seven days later.