Pirelli working hard to improve Wet tyre

Pirelli working hard to improve Wet tyre

28 December 2016 – Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says the manufacturer has been working hard to improve its Wet tyre compound, in the wake of public criticism from several drivers.

Sebastian Vettel led renewed complaints over the Wet rubber mid-season, after the British Grand Prix was started behind the Safety Car, claiming drivers could not trust it.

His Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Räikkönen, also spoke out following the rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix, in which he aquaplaned in a straight line, declaring them unfit for purpose.

"They are very vulnerable, easy to aquaplane," said Räikkönen.

"It obviously depends on the circuit and on many other things, but comparing to some years ago, those tyres could handle this kind of water with no issues of aquaplaning."

Hembery, speaking in an exclusive interview with GPUpdate.net, explained that Pirelli has put a lot of effort into its 2017-spec Wet tyre, though concedes more may need to be done.

"Well, they're much wider, so just to get the water evacuation to [2016] levels, for aquaplaning, has already been a big challenge, which we believe we've achieved," said Hembery.

"It's an area we need to probably still do some work in, based on what's changed over the last period of time, the standing starts and more running behind the Safety Car in the rain."

Asked if the difference between the Intermediates and Wets was too small in 2016, Hembery responded: "If you speak to different people, you get different opinions, if we're honest.

"One thing the drivers have said is they don't want us to touch the Intermediate.

"The main area is to get the performance of the Wet tyre improved, the warm-up, which will take it away from working in the dry, so it's likely to be a tyre that you want to go off when it dries out.

"But the warm-up of the Wet is the area where we feel we can get the most benefit."

Hembery admitted, however, that 2017's wider profile adds to the challenge.

"Next year we're going to be throwing a lot of water up in the air with the tyres – we're going to get 25 per cent more water per tyre, which is a lot," Hembery went on to comment.

"When you talk to the drivers, they say the in-car camera is much better than their visibility, so I think sometimes people have to be a little bit more forgiving on the visibility levels."

He added: "There are also very few possibilities for us to go wet-tyre testing. All of the circuits are different, while the same circuit, on a day-to-day basis, can also be different.

"There are so many variables to consider in wet-tyre technology."

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