Adam Cooper, Crain News Service
MONACO (May 24, 2013) — Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. is growing increasingly frustrated with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile at the lack of an agreement to continue as the sole Formula 1 tire supplier next year and beyond, after its initial three-year deal runs out at the end of this season.
Paul Hembery, head of Pirelli motorsports, is particularly frustrated because of the new car regulations for next year — engines change to turbocharged V6s, for example — that will put new, as-yet unquantifiable strains on tires.
Until a new deal is agreed, Mr. Hembery said, Pirelli is not in a position to push ahead with research and development.
"Apparently, on the first of September, we're supposed to tell them everything that they need to know for the tires for next season," Mr. Hembery said in a conversation at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix in Monaco.
"We're now mid-May, so you can imagine how ludicrous that is when we haven't even got contracts in place. Maybe we won't be here, anyway."
Asked whether the chance of the "maybe" had grown since the last race in Spain, he said: "Well, two weeks have passed, so it's grown. At a certain point, somebody's got to make a decision."
Mr. Hembery made it clear that without any testing with the new turbo cars, it won't be easy to get the 2014 tires right.
"I won't say it will be guesswork. You can get some indications that the power delivery will be very different, the top speed will be different, the aero loads will be dramatically different," he said.
There's a big question on the correct tire sizes for next year, you'll have less aero downforce, so maybe you need wider tires to create grip. There's a risk of having excessive wheelspin.
"So there's a lot of parameters there that would create quite a lot of concern, so you'd have to take from my point of a view a very conservative approach, so we'll be back to no pit stops or one if you need to, and talk about other things.
"The changes are so dramatic, if you go round the teams and ask the teams how they perceive the cars next year, you'll have 11 different answers."
Pirelli has been under pressure recently from the F1 community regarding the performance of its tires thus far in 2013 what role this has played in how races have unfolded this season, and the uncertainty over the future has created extra pressure.
A version of this story appeared originally on autoweek.com, the website of Autoweek magazine, a sister publication of Tire Business.