June 28th, 2013 (Graham Keilloh) - Pirelli’s Paul Hembery has confirmed that the Italian tyre company would like to stay as F1’s supplier for the long term. He also said that there is progress towards a deal that would see Pirelli remain in F1 for next year, and that the recent tyre-related controversies are merely "blips".
Pirelli and Hembery have had a period of comparative silence in public following the recent ‘testgate’ International Tribunal outcome, but talking today in Silverstone Hembery outlined the company’s position and future plans.
Hembery said, "They’re (Pirelli bosses in Milan) willing to invest going forward for quite a long term contract. You have periods don’t you, little blips? So, we’ve had a little blip and now it’s back on with the racing." He did also say though that the company had been unhappy during the case.
And while a contract for 2014 and beyond for Pirelli is yet to be agreed, Hembery said that there has been progress on a deal for next year: "The promoter is clearly on board, the majority of teams are now, and I’ve spoken to all the others teams here and we’re closing in on finishing that off. So if you’ve got all teams happy and the promoter happy then that’s clearly all we can do."
Hembery indicated that 2014 would not be more of the same for Pirelli however: ‘It’s (2014) a year to be probably conservative because the challenges (from the rule changes) the teams will be telling you is going to be huge for them, and they’ve got enough on their plate without probably trying to manage some aggressive tyre strategies…it will be a year that we’ll take a few steps back." Hembery added: "The compounds (will have) no degradation really, it may be slower warm up, but then you can do 20, 30 laps. It’ll be more about the cars next year." He also said that Pirelli would like there to be more than four compounds.
When asked if Pirelli has any rivals to be next year’s tyre supplier to F1, Hembery said: "Who knows? In eight weeks’ time you’ve got to deposit the new design", later adding "It’s in the rules, the 1st of September (is the deadline)."
On Pirelli’s reaction to the International Tribunal outcome, throughout which Pirelli maintained the position that as a supplier rather than a competitor it was not subject to the disciplinary process, Hembery was coy today, and did not rule out legal action from the company: "We reserve the right to consider civil action, so those are being considered, but it’s not in my hands, it’s in the lawyers’ hands." He also said however that Pirelli is "pleased that it was recognised that nobody acted in bad faith." On his absence from today’s team principals’ press conference he said, "We advised on Wednesday we wouldn’t be there, strange that the invite still went out really. We felt that it was time really because we seem to get a frequent flier pass for going to press conferences…we just felt it was better to talk about other things."