Pirelli reports ‘no issues’ with F1 tyres in Australia
“What a fantastic race” – these are the words of Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery following the Australian Grand Prix, the tyre maker’s first race under its three-year supply agreement. As Pirelli predicted, most runners made two to three pit stops – eleven of the 16 classified finishers, including race winner Sebastian Vettel, stopped twice, with five finishers stopping three times and one driver – 21-year-old rookie Sergio Perez – stopping only once en route to seventh place. The total race time was three minutes quicker than last year, a time saving that Pirelli says underlines the performance of its PZero tyres.
The Grand Prix was the very first race finish in Australia for Red Bull’s reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position after driving the fastest-ever lap of Melbourne in qualifying. “We have to make some compliments to Pirelli,” he commented afterwards. All the top three finishers started the race on soft option tyres and ended it on the harder prime, having completed their first two stints on the option tyres.
Hembery added: “Australia had everything: the quickest lap of Melbourne ever seen in qualifying, plenty of on-track battles, close competition, and some thrilling overtaking manoeuvres. At the end of it we have three drivers from different teams standing on the podium, all of whom performed outstandingly. I think that the same can be said of our tyres too: we had no issues whatsoever and the degradation was less than expected meaning that most drivers – including the top three – chose a two-stop strategy, as we had predicted.
We also saw a wide spread of strategies ranging from one stops to three, giving the teams the opportunity to think creatively about their race management,” the motorsport director continued. “I’d like to thank all the teams and drivers for their support as we built up to our race debut and we hope that the action today has rewarded their faith in us. I’d also like to thank all our people at Pirelli: this exciting start has only been made possible by their unstinting hard work since our agreement was confirmed just nine months ago in June. We’re not about to rest on our laurels though: we’re already thinking ahead now to the next race in Malaysia, which will provide us with a new and different challenge.”