Pirelli’s motorsport boss Paul Hembery says he’s confident that his company can deliver the kind of tyres that Formula 1’s teams are asking for when the new, faster cars come on stream in 2017.
Hembery is pleased that the FIA will submit a formal document detailing what is required from its 2017 tyres. Until now, there has been much discussion over Pirelli making the tyres that the sport had asked for, but this was never actually formalised in a detailed technical document.
At the February 'summit meeting' in Milan, Pirelli confirmed that it could make tyres to whatever specification was wanted.
The FIA has responded by starting work on a formal document covering performance and degradation requirements, and so on.
Whiting clarifies requirements with teams
As previously reported, on Thursday the FIA's Charlie Whiting met with the technical directors of the six Strategy Group teams – Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Force India – to turn what was a general requirement that emerged from the Strategy Group team principals into a detailed technical document.
“Yes, we're happy,” said Hembery when asked by Motorsport.com about this new process. “Obviously we then have to meet it, we have to do everything we can to meet it.
“But we felt there was a need to have a common document given to us, rather than individuals going off in a wing, saying we want this, somebody wants another, which puts as basically in an impossible situation.”
Hembery says he doesn't expect Pirelli to be caught out by any surprise requests.
“It's F1, I wouldn't say there will be no surprises,” he admitted, “but I think there's a recognition certainly on the aero regs that what was agreed at the F1 Commission is what we'll see going forward.
“There's a lot of changes that are being discussed, those regulations that have secondary impacts on the rest of the cars, so there's a lot of clarification needed there.”
Hembery also confirmed that the company's contract for the 2017-'19 F1 supply contract has not been fully signed off – leaving the company in a legal limbo.
“It's not all signed,” he confirmed. “It's more the legal things.
“Every year when we've renewed we've tended to get the contract a month before Melbourne, so we're still a year away from previous years of getting it done. There's lot of dialogue going on, detail work being done. It's very well advanced.”
‘Windtunnel tyres’ still not ready
The teams are still waiting to take delivery of Pirelli's scale windtunnel tyres made to the wider 2017 dimensions, without which they cannot start serious aerodynamic work for next year's car.
They can still use CFD and run the current-model tyres in the tunnel, but it represents a compromise.
“That's a good challenge, because the teams obviously want to start working on their models in the windtunnels as soon as possible,” said Hembery. “We physically have tyres available as of [Friday], actually, we have the first iterations.
“We're finalising with the teams and the FIA how we go from us physically having them and them getting them, and how they start their work. A little bit of that is still related to the finalising of the regulations within the 30th of April.”
Asked if the lack of a finalised contract also played a role in the delay, he said: “It's a mix of two, it is the tech regs and the contracts.”