Pirelli didn’t like Red Bull’s lippy critique in 2013

Photo- Laura Allard
Pirelli's Paul Hembery

Pirelli aren’t very pleased with Red Bull Racing and the criticism the team offered toward the Italian tire maker’s product in 2013. Ever since the Bahrain Grand Prix when delamination first appeared on Pirelli’s high degradation tires, the Italian company had been on the defensive trying to stave off criticism and brand equity damage.

Pirelli’s motor sport boss, Paul Hembery, even told the world that a change in tire construction, per red Bull’s request, would have favored that team in particular and they weren’t keen to do that as everyone had the same challenge.

That may have been true but the tire blowouts at the British Grand Prix forced the FIA’s hand and demanded that Pirelli make immediate changes to the tires. From the change at the Hungarian Grand Prix onward, Red Bull won all but one of the remain races.

Hembery was right. He’s also sharing his displeasure with Red Bull’s critical nature telling AUTOSPORT:

“That was clearly disappointing because everybody has the same challenge, and that is one thing that was true,” Hembery said.

“That then opened up what then became a battle between different teams of what we were allowed to do and what we weren’t allowed to do, and we got caught up in that battle between teams.

“That was very disappointing as they had clearly dominated and won the championship so convincingly – that was really the opening up of a lot of comment and debate that really shouldn’t happen.

“We are a partner and competitor, we always said if all the teams, or the sport itself, tells us to make a change we will do it, but being put under media pressure was very disappointing.”

Now that may all very well be true and one ahs to give credit to Hembery where its due—Red Bull ran away with the championship. In hindsight, however, is there no culpability on Pirelli’s hands in trying to make a tire to thwart Red Bull’s blistering pace from the 2012season by making a very aggressive tire that ultimately couldn’t withstand Formula 1’s punishment?

Possibly but as Hembery points out to AUTOSPORT, the sport of Formula 1 asked them to provide a tire such as these high degradation specifications and in doing so, one would think the sport has your back if anyone or team is unhappy with it. That clearly wasn’t the case but then the FIA has to make a move any time safety is involved. Hembery said:

“Maybe sometimes we have been thinking that people have lost the reason of why we are doing certain things,” he added.

“That has been a little bit disappointing.

“If the sport does not protect you from it when you are asked to do something then you have to do it yourself.”

With the clarity of hindsight, how do you see the issue? Was Red Bull taking advantage of the situation and slating Pirelli without due cause or justification? Is there a level of culpability on Pirellis hands? How do you see the issue now that you’ve had time to reflect on it?

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