Pirelli boss wary of 2017 ‘procession’


Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery has expressed concerns about the possible racing in 2017, saying it could become a “procession.”

Although this year’s car will be up to five seconds per lap faster given the new aerodynamic regulations, Hembery concedes fast cars does not always equate to good racing.

He told Motorsport.com: “I think the drivers will enjoy it – because with that level of performance, you are going to feel it aren’t you? That will give them a physical challenge they haven’t had for a while.

“But the true impact of overtaking will be down to the [relative] performance of the cars.

“If the performance of the cars is close together, then there might be chances – if they aren’t then it will be a procession.”

The situation could be made worse by requests from the teams and drivers to deliver tyres that have very low degradation.

Although Pirelli began in Formula 1 with high degradation tyres, this season they will be going the other way.

“It is going to be quite the opposite to that – but that is what the sport has asked us to do,” Hembery added.

“It asked us to do that [high degradation tyres] back in 2011, and now we are being asked to do something else. We will ask it to the people to ask what is the best approach. We are just trying to deliver what we have been asked to deliver.

“On any of these subjects, there are always some pros and some against. I think we will know after five or six races what we have done and if it is right or wrong.”

He does, however, believe that this year’s tyres will allow the drivers to push hard.

“We have six years where the input was to create a challenge for the teams and drivers – a thermal challenge where you had to manage overheating and degradation,” he said.

“Now we are going to a situation where we are asked to reduce that, so the thermal overheating is significantly reduced and wear levels are reduced, so the drivers in overtaking situations can push harder and not go into an overheating scenario.

“That needs to be combined, of course, with the aero changes that reduce the level of disturbance of the air that arrives to the front of the following car. That, combined with the tyres, should enable people to make more aggressive overtaking manoeuvres.

“But on the other side there are going to be more corners flat out, and that is not going to help overtaking because people won’t be backing off as there is no braking.”