Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery has defended the decision to bring a softer tire allocation to the Indian Grand Prix despite a number of drivers suffering from blistering during practice today.
Many of the runners at the Buddh International Circuit complained of problems with their tires after Pirelli opted to bring a softer tire to the race this weekend, with Kimi Raikkonen being particular vocal on his team radio about the issues. Nevertheless, Hembery has remained defiant, believing that this decision will improve the racing and prevent a one-stop race.
“Essentially we went for softer compounds this time as in 2012 the Indian Grand Prix was just a one-stop race, and the combination we brought this year allows for a two to three stop strategy,” Hembery said. “After what we have seen today, wear and degradation is generally in line with our expectations but there have been some issues with blistering on the soft compound while some drivers ran up to twenty-four laps on the medium tire.”
Hembery is confident that the medium tire will be widely used during the race on Sunday, with the softer compound being used sparingly during qualifying and in the first few laps of the race.
“The medium seems set to be the optimal race tire, while the soft tire should be the one to qualify on, as it has been about 0.8 seconds to a second per lap faster up to now,” he explained. “Assessing the drop-off in performance will be the key to formulating the strategy and the timing of the first pit stop. Consequently, some teams will also be evaluating the potential benefits of starting on the medium.”
However, with the tire wear being so aggressive, we could see a repeat of the qualifying debacle that ensued at the Chinese Grand Prix back in April where there was limited running for the majority of the session on Saturday.