Pirelli hit back after tyre quality criticised by Sebastian Vettel
Italian firm say they wanted to impose a lap limit in 2013 of 50 per cent race distance for prime and 30 per cent for the option
By William Esler
Last Updated: 27/08/15 9:33am
Pirelli have hit back at criticism of the quality of their tyres, stating that they called for a set limit on the number of laps a tyre could do two years ago.
Attempting a one-stop race at the Belgian GP, Sebastian Vettel's right-rear exploded on the penultimate lap, costing the Ferrari driver a podium finish. The failure occurred just metres after the high-speed Eau Rouge and Raidillon sequence of corners.
Vettel described the quality of Pirelli's tyres as "appalling" after the race. However, the Italian firm hit back insisting that 'our request of two years ago to fix a maximum limit to the number of laps that can be run with the same tyres was not listened to'.
In a statement the firm continued: 'In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tyres, among other parameters to do with correct tyre usage.
'This request was not accepted. The proposal put forward a maximum distance equivalent to 50 per cent of the grand prix distance for the prime tyre and 30 per cent for the option. These conditions, if applied today at Spa, would have limited the maximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22.'
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ after the race, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery said it was pointless speaking to Vettel to reassure him, until the German saw the data.
"You are not going to have a proper conversation right after a driver got out of a car, you have to wait a day or two until they get all the information and that is something we still don't have," said Hembery.
"It was for us a two or three stop race, we said that before and during the race, on wear life it appeared you could also look at a one-stop race and they were a lap away from it. If they had done it you'd be here talking about the genius strategy it was.
"Maybe we need to look at a maximum number of laps which is something we tried to do three years ago, but it wasn't popular with the teams primarily because some teams would have been penalised who had been working hard on the chassis to reduce the number of pitstops. So that is one thing we might have to return to."
For his part Vettel was incensed after the race which showed during his post-race interviews and even fell afoul of the FIA by not going to get weighed.
"It has to be said that the quality of the tyres is just appalling and we already have this issue now for years. I have no idea what we are waiting for," he told Sky Deutschland.
"Pirelli's prediction was that the tyres would last for 40 laps and we only used them for about 30 laps. Things like this mustn't happen."
Nico Rosberg also suffered a tyre problem during Friday practice and he was lucky to avoid a massive accident after spinning on the entry to Blanchimont.
"Vettel exploding his tyre is really poor. It shouldn't happen and that it keeps on happening, in other categories as well and today with us, and with me on Friday both of us were just so lucky," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.
"If it happens a couple of metres later or earlier we'll have one of the biggest shunts ever, so they need to figure something out to make it safer."
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was adamant the team did not take any risks with Vettel's strategy that put him in danger.
"The strategy, the one-stop, was absolutely right. When we do the strategy we have the data and the strategy is based on the data," he said after the race.
"The strategy, even if aggressive, is based on clear data. You are not so stupid or so crazy to take a risk for the driver. So our job was right."
The Italian also insisted they had been given no warning from Pirelli that what they were doing was risky.
"All the teams have an engineer from Pirelli and what do you think that engineer is doing? He is not there to eat chewing gum, he is there to check the tyres, to follow all the runs that we are doing and to give the data to the team," he added.
"We had zero warning, I can show you the paper."