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GP Week : Issue 181
Monaco Singapore Abu Dhabi Austin 24/25/26 May 21 / 22 September 1 / 3 November 15/16/17 November AMBER LOUNGE THE ULTIMATE VIP GRAND PRIX EXPERIENCE 2013 CELEBRATING 10 YEARS VIP Parties Fashion Shows Dining Hospitality Live Acts BlackBook-210x282.indd 1 01/03/2013 17:52 F1 >>> NEWS PIRELLI AND THE RED BULL RUBBER WARS Pirelli, the Italian tyre supplier whose F1 rubber has been criticized for its fast-degrading properties – despite being asked to supply tyres to exactly that specification – altered their choice of compounds for the hot and dusty Bahrain Grand Prix. Pirelli were originally planning to bring the soft and hard compound tyres to Bahrain, but decided to go a step harder on the option compound and bring the medium and hard instead to cope with the desert heat. So far this year Pirelli have only once raced the soft compound; it made its debut at the previous weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. And while that tyre was extremely quick, it was also extremely fragile – the most anyone managed on the soft was seven laps and the much more durable medium was clearly the preferred race choice. Pirelli’s decision to alter its choice for Bahrain was made on Sunday evening after the Sepang race, well before the Chinese Grand Prix demonstrated the difficulty of racing on the soft compound, but the Italian company has been criticised for the decision nonetheless. The tyre manufacturer tweaked its compounds for the 2013 season year in an attempt to further spice up the racing, making them less durable but grippier after a conservative choice of tyres towards the end of last year led to races with fewer stops, reminiscent of the one-stop Bridgestone days. But the fast-wearing nature of this year’s compounds hasn’t pleased everyone. Red Bull in particular have been using the media to pressure Pirelli into changing the compounds, but no-one from the team has yet to make a formal approach to anyone associated with the tyre company. Red Bull’s position at the top of the drivers’ and constructors’ standings has meant that their targeted press statements are largely falling on deaf ears. Whatever is ‘wrong’ with the rubber, it is not hurting the Milton Keynes-based team’s chances on track. “Still the tyres, everything is the tyres. The whole category is geared around tyres at the moment so, yeah, everything’s around tyres and tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres,” Mark Webber said after practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. But Kimi Raikkonen, in his typical no-nonsense style, told reporters in Bahrain that the racing now is no different to what it was when he started out over a decade ago and that it was up to the drivers to make the most of the situation and just get on with the driving. “[In the past] you were able to go fast but then you do more stops, you do shorter runs with less fuel. So in those years if you put 50 kilos more fuel you have to look after the tyres so it hasn’t really changed,” Raikkonen told reporters in the Sakhir paddock. “Obviously, we are never happy, never 100 percent happy with our cars, or driving or tyres, so there’s always things to complain about. You cannot please everybody, so for Pirelli it’s not an easy job because whatever they do there will be teams and drivers and people who will not be happy. You’ll never make everybody happy. I think it’s up to us to make the best of it.” 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: