F1 has a 'big problem' if under-fire Pirelli quits

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Pirelli's F1 tyres
Pirelli's F1 tyres

An active Formula 1 team manager has warned that the sport will have a "big problem" if Pirelli walks away.

At Paul Ricard, the dominant topic of conversation is the safety of the current tyres, after Pirelli effectively blamed Red Bull and Aston Martin for their respective high-speed Baku blowouts.

"I wish tyres were a backstory in Formula 1 again, but every year it ends up like this," Graham Watson, the team manager at Alpha Tauri, told the Dutch publication Formule 1.

Pirelli has put tyre pressures up by another 2 PSI for the French GP weekend, admitting that until 2022 the company is unable to effectively monitor how the teams operate their tyres in adherence with the guidelines.

There are rumours in the paddock about teams using humidity in the inflation gas to lower pressures once the car is running, and also sophisticated tyre blankets for the same purpose.

"I argued three years ago that we should ban these blankets," said Alpha Tauri team boss Franz Tost.

"But many teams were against it because they believed they had an advantage through some special tricks."

Championship leader Max Verstappen, however, is hitting out at any suggestion that Red Bull is finding clever ways around the rules.

"I find it hard to accept," the Dutchman told Ziggo Sport. "If the car had turned left instead of right (at Baku), then I might be in hospital now.

"I want to know what the real problem was, because I know it wasn't us. What I find most annoying is that Pirelli can't admit a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes - that's no problem."

Angry F1 drivers reportedly boycotted a special meeting with Pirelli at Paul Ricard, and the subsequent official driver briefing was reportedly extended and frosty.

Pirelli is also attracting international headlines for all the wrong reasons - a lack of safety and reliability - and Alpha Tauri's Watson thinks that is a big problem for F1.

"My fear is what will happen if we get something like Baku again. What will the explanation be then?" he said.

He confirmed that because of the situation, no major tyre manufacturer would currently be interested in replacing Pirelli as F1's sole supplier.

"As far as I know, that's right," Watson said. "That's why Formula 1 needs to pay attention.

"If Pirelli walks away, the sport has a big problem. There is so much at stake, as there is no successor.

"What I understand from meetings is that no one sees any relevance between a Formula 1 tyre and what they are trying to sell to consumers."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is the better F1 driver between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Lewis Hamilton
35% - 421 votes
Max Verstappen
65% - 799 votes
Vote