Pirelli threatens to pull out of Formula 1 over 2014 contract
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, May 23rd 2013, 16:26 GMT|
Pirelli has warned teams that it will pull out of Formula 1 at the end of the year unless it gets an answer soon over a 2014 tyre deal.
Talks between the Italian tyre manufacturer and the teams about a new contract have stalled in recent weeks, and Pirelli says time is running out for it to produce tyres to be fully ready for the new 2014 regulations.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, said in Monaco on Thursday that F1 was facing an 'extremely serious' situation, and that if the matter was not resolved very quickly then his company would find it impossible to make new tyres in time.
"Apparently on September 1, we are meant to tell them [the teams] everything that they need to know with the tyres for next season, but now we are in mid-May," he explained.
"You can imagine how ludicrous that is when we have not got contracts in place.
"Maybe we won't be here..."
Pirelli is already understood to have agreed a post-2013 commercial deal with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, but there has still been no word from the FIA about its plans to put the tyre contract out to tender.
Furthermore, Pirelli's attempts to finalise individual contracts with the teams have been thwarted by a number of outfits being reluctant to accept the terms on offer.
Hembery said that his Pirelli bosses had already set an internal deadline for when they needed an answer.
And although he refused to divulge when that was, he said that teams had to wake up to the long lead time his company needed to be prepared to stay in F1.
"I have always said we will never declare an internal deadline but clearly time is already too late," he said.
"Things are getting extremely serious because the changes next year are substantial.
"The sport has to take a rapid decision because aside from having the fixed resources in the business involved in F1, we need to do a technical job as well.
"It is not just a case of maybe putting a harder compound onto this year's tyres. The changes are so dramatic that we will need to do a thorough re-engineering of the tyre. That takes time, so the longer this [uncertainty] goes on, it makes our job impossible.
"There comes a time where we will not have time to do the job any more."