Pirelli should have been firmer over F1 tyre changes - Whitmarsh

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh believes that Pirelli should have been firmer and demanded it be allowed to change its tyres earlier this season

Pirelli should have been firmer over F1 tyre changes - Whitmarsh

Pirelli had hoped to revise its rears after the Spanish Grand Prix in the wake of a spate of delaminations early in the campaign.

However, its moves were blocked by Force India, Lotus and Ferrari because they feared it would affect their competitiveness.

But following a spate of blow outs at the British Grand Prix, those teams conceded that there were safety grounds for Pirelli to make changes.

Whitmarsh believes the way events panned out shows that Pirelli should have been tougher when it came to enforcing its belief that tyres needed to be improved.

"When you have made mistakes, and certainty we've made them over the years including this one, there is always a reluctance to admit them," explained Whitmarsh.

"There is always a fear of what the media will make it. But it was also clear to many that there were issues with the tyres.

"There was a reluctance to admit it - and teams will always lobby for their own competitive self-interest.

"As I said to Pirelli for quite a few weeks before Silverstone: 'You cannot listen to the teams on this one. You guys are the tyre experts; you have responsibility to give us safe tyres. You have to make the right call'.

"Pirelli got themselves a bit caught in the middle listening to the teams, especially those that didn't want anything to change."

Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, agrees with Whitmarsh's view that his company could have pushed harder.

When asked if he felt Pirelli should have shouted more for changes when the delamination issue first came up, he said: "Probably.

"I think sometimes we have been too good citizens trying to do everything right, and every time we try and push something we get into trouble.

"We are only interested in doing our job; we are not interested in helping anyone else."

Whitmarsh thinks the fact that the grid order was relatively unchanged at Silverstone showed that teams' concern of a big fluctuation in form were unfounded - which is why Pirelli should have been allowed to make changes earlier.

"If you look at where people are now [after Germany] I don't think it has been greatly changed by this belt change, and I don't think it will be greatly changed by the construction change for Hungary.

"They will have a different shape, so there will be marginal winners and losers. It is an area that is difficult to have correlation with the wind tunnel, and that is why teams do a lot of work around the tyres at the circuit.

"I don't think anyone can accurately predict what will happen, but it will not reverse the grid or anything like that - unfortunately."

shares
comments
Sauber reveals Silverstone Formula 1 test line-up

Previous article

Sauber reveals Silverstone Formula 1 test line-up

Next article

F1's pitlane ban: missing the point?

F1's pitlane ban: missing the point?
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021