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Pirelli demands logic from F1 drivers over rise in tyre pressures

Pirelli has called for "pragmatism" from Formula 1 drivers following wide-ranging criticism of the recent hike in tyre pressures

F1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, along with the likes of Felipe Massa, bemoaned the rise in minimum pressures for the Belgian Grand Prix by 2.5psi as "ridiculous", "crazy" and "a joke".

Combined with this year's increased aerodynamic loads and unusually hot weather at Spa - with track temperatures of 44C as qualifying started on Saturday - drivers were barely able to conduct any meaningful running on the super-soft tyre before it gave up.

"I can sometimes understand the comments, but there needs to be a little more pragmatism now and again," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport.

"Take a step back because the product we have at the moment, we've had one day of testing in three years.

"Even if we'd had ideas on what could have been done to find changes in the product to lower pressures, we weren't able to test to prove them, so there is a reason why we are in this situation.

"Last year when we did all the analysis post-Spa, the simulation data underestimated the loads we were seeing, notably through the compression in Eau Rouge.

"Even during the weekend, if you looked at the tyre deformation going through Eau Rouge, it was very, very substantial.

"We've no other elements we can employ at this moment in time, so it is unfortunate we have to increase pressure.

"Having said that, it is the same for everybody, which I know is not ideal.

"For these drivers, when it comes to tyres, they are either advantaged or disadvantaged in the same way."

Mercedes' Toto Wolff can at least understand "why we are blowing up the tyres like balloons" given that "integrity is super important to our tyre supplier" following Pirelli's high-profile failures at Spa in 2015 last year.

Wolff claims Mercedes is being hurt by the pressure rise given it has a car with a lot of downforce, but it is unable to apply that on track.

Despite that, Wolff said: "It is not sportsmanlike to find excuses; you just need to adapt as best as possible," he said.

"They are having a tough job in giving us a product that is right for the teams, engineers and spectators for a race, so there will always be someone moaning."

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