No favours for Ferrari: Tronchetti Provera
Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera has strongly ruled out the possibility of the new tyre supplier to Formula One favouring the team synonymous with Italian motor-racing Ferrari. However, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who struggled to make an impact in the 2010 season barring an unedifying incident when he allowed title-challenging teammate Fernando Alonso to usurp his position at the German Grand Prix, hopes the new tyres’ characteristics will help him regain some lost form in what will be a pivotal season for the Brazilian.
The Ferrari team revealed its 2011 car, named the F150 in honour of the reunification of Italy, a patriotic sentiment some commentators suggested was emblematic of the national ties with Pirelli. Tronchetti Provera told Diario AS of Spain, “We are a company, not a flag”, underlining that the company was proud of the tyre development it has undertaken.
Massa told ITV.com: “I want to be more competitive from the first to the last race this year and I think that also the Pirelli tyres will help me here. Last year Bridgestone changed the front tyres a lot compared to 2009. This led to lots of understeer. The tyres were much harder and difficult to bring up to the right temperature.
“I tried to modify the front tyres, but then the rear tyres didn’t work as they should have, so it was a real fight. This year Pirelli should have prepared much stronger front tyres, for more grip. This is much better for my driving style.”
While there appears to be no way that Pirelli will favour any team particularly, it seems possible that the change of tyre and its performance characteristics will help some driving styles more than others. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery told Tyres & Accessories in November that “We could make tyres last a whole weekend, but we want to be involved in making the sport exciting, [which means a high] level of strategy and variation in racing”. Ultimately then, as in most single tyre series, it will be the driver most adept at adapting to conditions – including the tyres’ interaction with the track – who will prevail over the course of the long F1 season.