Teams at loggerheads over next tyre change

Wed, 10 July 2013, 09:35

Jul.10 (GMM) A new row is brewing in F1, as teams contemplate the next change to the specification of Pirelli’s 2013 tyres.

After the tyre-exploding British grand prix, F1’s official supplier rushed into service the new kevlar-belted rear tyre in Germany.

And Pirelli did intend to debut an all-new tyre for Hungary and beyond, combining the 2012 tyre construction with the 2013 compounds.

But world champion Sebastian Vettel hinted after winning at the Nurburgring that the tyre teams will actually race in Hungary is yet to be completely decided.

Lotus, competitive with the Nurburgring-spec tyre, is happy to keep things as they are.

“This was a great race,” team owner Gerard Lopez told Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper, “showing that the tyres performed much the same as in the first third of the season.

“If the tyres change radically, it really affects the credibility of the sport. At least now, no one can argue that these tyres are unsafe,” he added.

Force India, on the other hand, had no problem with the original Pirelli tyre, but struggled markedly in Germany with the kevlar construction and the new rules banning rear tyre-swapping.

And now, the Silverstone based team is dreading the switch to the 2012 tyres.

“If we return to the old carcass,” said sporting director Otmar Szafnauer, we lose our entire advantage about how we use the tyres this year.

“We designed our car specifically for the 2013 tyre specification.”

He told Auto Motor und Sport that Force India was the first team in 2013 to discover the old trick of rear tyre swapping, complaining that other teams triggered the ban by combining the practice with running extreme pressures and cambers.

“We never ran with low pressure or too much camber,” Szafnauer rued.

Now, Force India is hurriedly tweaking its car to see how it works with the 2012 tyres, which will be tested for the first time at Silverstone next week.

“I am afraid that these tyres will mess up everything,” said Szafnauer.

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