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Hembery: Majority of teams happy with our tyres

NEWS STORY
23/04/2013

Despite continued criticism of its tyres, Pirelli boss Paul Hembery insists that the majority of teams are happy with the 2013 compounds and don't want changes made.

The Italian manufacturer has been on a hiding to nothing since it re-entered the sport, having been told by the sport's powers that be to produce tyres that deliberately degrade and thereby spice up the action.

In 2012, as teams struggled to understand the new rubber, the first seven races were won by seven different drivers, the racing described by many as a lottery.

Having admitted that to produce tyres which last an entire race distance would be easy, this year Pirelli has once again complied with the wishes of the sport's powers that be, however, certain drivers and teams remain unhappy, often blaming the rubber for their own shortcomings.

Following talks in Bahrain, Hembery claims that it is only a small minority that want changes made, the vast majority claiming they are OK with the new rubber.

"We often sit down and go 'what's all this about?'," he told Reuters, referring to the constant negativity in the media. "It's the third year, it's no different this year than any other year. We've given the challenge, some like it and some don't. They all have the same challenge.

"In the end we've had the vast majority of teams come to us and say: 'Whatever you do don't change anything'," he said. "We might - because we have to, and because we see things that as tyre supplier we might want to change - but essentially they are saying: 'Don't change even if you are getting this media coverage.' So it is rather strange.

"The most vocal team has been Red Bull obviously, and for their reasons," he added, though the Austrian outfit was somewhat quiet in the wake of Sunday's emphatic win, a victory which saw it become the first team to win two races this season. "The others, if they see one team pushing that way will push against that because they feel there's a good reason why they (Red Bull) want to go in that direction.

"We try and do the right thing for everybody, for the sport and the vast majority. We don't want to favour anybody," he insisted. "Maybe the engineers and drivers would prefer it that they knew they've got pole and could run away with it, but as a sporting spectacle we know that fans want to have uncertainty.

"The first two seasons were very similar. You get to seven or eight races in and things really do settle down and it'll be the same again this year I'm sure."

Referring to the original mandate, he also warned that continued criticism could cause the Italian manufacturer to walk away from the sport.

"We were asked to replicate Canada 2010 and we are doing what we were asked to do," he said. "If you don't want us to do that, tell us and we'll do another approach. But if we do that, maybe it doesn't appeal to us any more being in the sport where you get no visibility. That was one of the reasons why the previous suppliers had to go, because they were anonymous. We could build the tyres to last the whole race, go to sleep, say we're not worried about any publicity.

"As it is a very dramatic and significant net cost to the business, we have to justify why we are here," he added. "So we need to have visibility, we need to have a profile, otherwise quite frankly we won't be here."

Despite claims made in recent weeks, Pirelli has yet to sign a new contract from 2014 and beyond.

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