Mark Webber has joined Fernando Alonso in criticising Pirelli for their quick-degrading tyres. The Aussie believes that it is up to the supplier to make changes after a number of incidents during the Korean Grand Prix.
Prior to the race rival Fernando Alonso blasted Pirelli for their 2013 compounds, saying in the Korea paddock: “I have to be honest, the tyre we have doesn’t last more than five kilometres. It’s the same for everybody. It’s not very helpful or nice to drive at 95% during a lap.”
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery reacted to the comments, saying: “I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres.”
During the 55-lap Korean Grand Prix Sergio Perez suffered a high-speed tyre delamination after a large lock-up into the first corner. Webber was following behind and picked up a puncture after running through the debris.
The Red Bull Racing driver eventually retired from the Korean round after being hit by Adrian Sutil. Pirelli have repeatedly pointed out that they were asked to produce tyres that degrade at a faster rate, but Webber feels that the driver’s needs are being overlooked.
He is quoted by ESPN saying: “That is how it is. The drivers aren’t super important – it is what other people want. The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit. But that is for Pirelli to sort out.
“Pirelli will put the puncture of Perez down to a lock-up but the reason the drivers are locking up is because there’s no tread left.”
Hembery reacted to Webber’s comments after the Korean Grand Prix, telling the Daily Telegraph: “There are two issues here that Mark is conflating. Firstly the situation with Sergio’s tyre. It was nothing to do with delaminations earlier in the season. He had a major lock-up and flat-spotted.
“The other issue about degradation is the same old story. You can have a philosophical difference of opinion – as Michael [Schumacher] had last year – but we are only doing what we were asked to do, which is to create two to three stops per race. If they want tyres to last all race we can do that, too.”
Pirelli, as Webber predicted, confirmed that Perez’s puncture was caused by a flat spot: “Regarding Sergio Perez’s front-right tyre issue we have been able to determine very quickly that it was the result of a flat spot caused by a lock-up under heavy braking. We’re obviously on exactly the same construction as we raced here last year, so there’s no underlying problem, while flat spots or punctures have just always been an integral part of racing.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic