May 24 (GMM) Pirelli has for the first time indicated it could quit formula one.
On the one hand, the Italian tyre company is pushing hard for a new contract, in order to continue supplying the F1 grid beyond its initial three-year deal.
But there are also signs of frustration, not just because of the widespread criticism of its 2013 tyres, and of the lack of a representative test car and warm-weather winter testing, but also because the teams are resisting the push for mid-season changes.
Asked what Pirelli’s greatest challenge is in 2013, Paul Hembery exclaimed on Thursday: “A contract!”
He also indicated that Pirelli is growing tired of its spot in the glaring spotlight of media criticism.
Referring to 2014, motor sport director Hembery said: “It’s probably a year where we will probably step back, be cautious — zero degradation, no pitstops and they (the teams) can do all the talking!”
Hembery then revealed a September 1 deadline for needing to supply teams with all the specifications of the 2014 Pirelli tyre — which will have to be markedly different due to the new V6 engine rules.
“You can imagine how ludicrous that (deadline) is when we have not got contracts in place. Maybe we won’t be here,” he is quoted as saying.
“Clearly time is already getting too late. Things are getting extremely serious.
“There comes a time where we will not have time to do the job anymore.”
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said F1 will not have many alternative suppliers to turn to, should Pirelli walk away.
Correspondent Michael Schmidt said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has Cooper Avon as a back-up option.