Pirelli F1 tyre debate continues

8th October 2013

The weekend's Formula One (F1) Grand Prix in Korea reopened the tyre debate that has dogged the 2013 season from the very beginning.

This time it was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber who criticised tyre manufacturer Pirelli for its performance across the weekend.

After the qualifying session on Saturday, Alonso said "the quality of the tyres is very on the limit", before claiming that they would not last 5km if the drivers pushed 100 per cent from the start of a lap.

He explained that the Italian team's lack of competitiveness across the weekend in Korea was not down to the tyres, but that if the tyre was more durable he would at least be able to drive his car.

Red Bull's Webber was critical of the tyre manufacturer after Sunday's race, as he felt he was unlucky to get a puncture after Sergio Perez's front-right tyre blew out in front of him.

Prior to the incident, the Australian had struggled for grip and saw his own right front tyre wear rapidly.

He believes that the safety of drivers has been overlooked in favour of exciting races this season, however Pirelli has claimed it is only following instructions from the FIA to produce quick-degrading tyres.

"That is how it is," he said. "The drivers aren't super important – it is what other people want. The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit. But that is for Pirelli to sort out."

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery said Webber's complaints are nothing new.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "There are two issues here that Mark is conflating. Firstly the situation with Sergio's tyre. It was nothing to do with delaminations earlier in the season. He had a major lock-up and flat-spotted.

"The other issue about degradation is the same old story. You can have a philosophical difference of opinion – as Michael [Schumacher] had last year – but we are only doing what we were asked to do, which is to create two to three stops per race. If they want tyres to last all race we can do that, too."