Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Pirelli succeeds in shaking up Formula One


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, April 16 - When Pirelli became Formula One's
exclusive tyre supplier in 2011, the Italian company was given a
clear brief to make the sport more exciting.
Years of using Bridgestone's hard-wearing tyres had
contributed to making too many races processional, with a
driver, often the man on pole position, frequently holding the
lead from early on until the chequered flag.
Once the initial fury of the start and the first bend was
over, many grands prix were devoid of drama, as in many cases,
teams could complete the race with just one pitstop.
Pirelli is now in the third year of the three-year deal it
signed with F1 and there can be no doubt that it has changed
this situation completely with its deliberately fast-wearing
These force teams to make more pitstops, thus providing
more opportunities for changes of position.
And teams know that they have to think long and hard about
their strategies now and have extremely well-drilled crews in
the paddock rather than just working on giving their driver the
fastest car possible.
This produced eight different race winners in 2012.
This year has seen three different drivers at the top of
the podium in the three races so far this season, with the lead
changing hands many times, after Pirelli changed its compounds
with the aim of ensuring at least two stops per driver in every
Giving some more variables to the racing does not seem to
have affected the overall outcome at the end of the championship
- the best combination of car, driver and team still wins.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel claimed his debut title in 2010
before the Pirelli era and retained the crown in 2011 and last
Nevertheless, there have been some claims that Pirelli have
gone too far in the extent that they are mixing things up.
Vettel and his Australian teammate Mark Webber have been
among those to complain that drivers are having to pay too much
attention to how much the tyres are wearing rather than going
full throttle.
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said the company
would assess its tyre compounds after this weekend's Bahrain
Grand Prix, as planned at the start of the season.
But he also stressed that many teams had requested no
changes to the tyres and that, on the whole, they were doing
their job in delivering interesting contests after last
weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, won by Fernando Alonso,
"Alonso is the third different winner in as many races so
far this season and we had five (current and former) world
champions in the first five positions," said Hembery.
"(In China) we again saw a great variety of different
strategies with Vettel and (McLaren's Jenson) Button choosing to
use the soft compounds at the end of the race.
"This gave us an emotional finale, with the battle for
third place between (Mercedes's) Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian
Vettel being fought right up to the chequered flag".
Pirelli was founded in 1872 in Milan by 24-year-old Gian
Battista Pirelli, who brought the company into motorsport in
1897 when he decided to develop tyres for motorbike racing.
Since then, Pirelli has grown to be the fifth-largest tyre
maker in the world, employing around 40,000 people in more than
160 countries.
The company wrapped up all the Formula One titles from 1950
to 1954, thanks to partnerships with Ferrari and Maserati and
legendary drivers such as Giuseppe Farina and Alberto Ascari, in
the days when tyre suppliers varied from team to team.
It quit F1 in 1991, while continuing to supply tyres to
several other motorsport series, before returning two years ago.
Pirelli is currently in talks with the teams and the
sport's governing body FIA to renew its contract to supply F1
tyres after the current deal runs out at the end of this year.
Hembery said he hopes an agreement can be reached soon, as
the tyre maker and the teams have to prepare for some major rule
changes in 2014.
"With the substantial technical changes coming for next
year, Pirelli and also the teams themselves would need to know
sooner rather than later whether we continue in Formula One next
year," he told DPA.
"We have always said that we would like to be in F1 at
least for the medium term, as long as it makes sense for us from
a financial point of view".

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