Pirelli’s tyre wear defence ‘a bluff’ – Panis

Sat, 26 March 2011, 06:01

Mar.26 (GMM) Olivier Panis has revealed he does not believe Pirelli when F1’s new supplier said it designed its 2011 tyres to wear so rapidly.

“Pirelli is a good manufacturer but they’re new to formula one and it’s normal that it takes them some time to adapt,” Panis, a veteran of more than 150 grands prix who retired in 2004, told Le Monde.

The Frenchman suggested the Italian marque is not being completely honest when it says the teams and Bernie Ecclestone specifically requested the behaviour of the 2011 tyres to enhance the spectacle.

“Their communication is a ‘bluff’, but in the end all the drivers will leave the grid with the same tyres,” said Panis. “And if it helps the show, I think it is good.”

After the practice action in Melbourne ahead of qualifying, drivers said the Pirellis were behaving much better than at recent Spanish tests.

“I was surprised that the grip was much better than we expected,” said world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Rubens Barrichello told Brazil’s Globo: “The degradation is not so bad, but I think this track is much easier on the tyres than Barcelona.

“They will be better, but still I think it will be a three-stop race,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pirelli had to replace 20 tyres that had cracked in low temperatures during transit to Australia.

“It is a purely aesthetic issue that has no bearing on performance or integrity,” read a statement.

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