Formula 1 – Why is Pirelli the Fall Guy?

Ferrari ExplosionThe British Grand Prix has come and gone on track, while the fallout from the action is still being discussed. Six Pirelli tires failed during the course of the event and the Italian company has again been brought back under the microscope of the FiA. Fresh off of the tribunal for illegal testing with Mercedes, the teams and FiA were quick to point blame to Pirelli. Drivers said the performance of the tire was unacceptable and a hazard to the competitors. My question is why? Is it because they are the sole tire suppliers so the buck stops with them? Why is Pirelli always the fall guy for these issues? We need to look at the teams and the FiA and perhaps start pointing the finger at them who so quickly point the finger at “the fall guy”.

The FiA is just as much to blame for this issue as anyone else. They requested tires that made the on track product interesting and entertaining. The tires were to further supplement things like KERS and DRS that artificially enhance the product. The FiA could make claim that the teams need to address the tires as an engineering challenge they often claim is lacking in Formula 1. The fact is that by not having midseason testing and demanding so much from Pirelli, the FiA have now opened themselves up to these kinds of issues. This is why we are seeing the young driver test changing to a first team test with Pirelli testing and doing a lot of data collection to prevent issues like we had in Great Britain. The fact of the matter is this should have been happening to begin with.

The teams have a part to play as well. We have seen in the past where the teams run pretty significant angles on the tire camber. These angles are dangerous and noted as such by Pirelli when the teams setup the car. Pirelli also made the claim that teams were mounting the rear tires incorrectly. They indicated that the tires are not universal and you have to make sure a left rear actually goes on the left rear. That teamed with other setup issues noted by Pirelli and we can see that problems can be easily had on the cars.

So in conclusion, while Pirelli need to make sure their product is sound and capable of surviving the duration of a Grand Prix, I think there has been a lot of mismanagement by the FiA as well as the teams who are pushing their limits with these tires that bring us to issues like this. It is poor management by the FiA and near impossible circumstances faced by the tire supplier that see events like Great Britain occur an I really believe that more responsibility needs to be taken by not only the FiA, but also the teams who run the cars in ways that may lead to dangerous on track conditions.