Formula 1

Pirelli tyre changes in doubt as FIA step in

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Pirelli's planned changes to the tyre compounds have been thrown in to doubt after the FIA stepped in stating the tyres could only be altered because of safety concerns.

The Italian manufacturer will bring a new construction to the Canadian Grand Prix next month as they look to stop the tread failures that occurred in both Bahrain and Spain, however, planned alterations to the rubber compounds themselves could be prohibited under the regulations.

Director of Motorsport Paul Hembery last week claimed the changes would be to reduce the number of pit stops after a four-stop-strategy was needed by most of the field in the Spanish Grand Prix just over a week ago.

Hembery was also very aggressive when speaking about Red Bull and Mercedes and accused them of "using the media" to push for changes.

"What has changed compared to the past two years," he told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, "is that people have used the media in order to get a benefit for themselves,” he told reporters.

"The people who criticise make the headlines but we have been contacted by many people who are asking us not to give in to the pressure."

What has been apparent since the Spanish Grand Prix is the level of which teams like Lotus, Ferrari and Force India have hit back at Red Bull and Mercedes defending Pirelli's aggressive tyres.

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez told Welt am Sonntag it was "stupid" that changes can be made to the tyres that would be to the detriment of "clever and creative teams" and would "reward the losers.”

Force India's Paul di Resta told Speed Week: "I don't know exactly why Pirelli is making changes, but I've been told that everything is fair.

"I suspect that the changes will hurt us, Ferrari and Lotus a little bit more than the others.

"We invested a lot of time in the winter to get these tyres working, so of course these changes are a bit frustrating," he added.

Di Resta believes Pirelli would struggle to justify the changes under the regulations, which state only changes can be made on safety grounds.

"I don't think they (the tyres) are dangerous," he insisted. "People have been getting excited about the last race, but we had no problems in the race.

"I think most of the tyre failures are down to driving over debris."


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