Several tire failures, including the much dreaded delamination of the right front of Sergio Perez during the Korean Grand Prix this past weekend, have brought the tire manufacturing giant Pirelli, to the forefront of paddock talk once again.
Previous issues cropped up this season with Pirelli at the Belgium Grand Prix as the company returned to F1 for the first time since 1911, replacing Bridgestone at the end of the 2010 season. While company spokespersons downplayed the seriousness of the issues in Belgium, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a tire issue that needed to be addressed.
Korea however offered different challenges. Track conditions played a major role in tire degradation. Drives and team crews noted the roughness of the track itself being course like sandpaper. The commentators during the race as it was aired on NBC Sports in the US vocalized their concern as well saying the surface was striated or grooved like rough cut lumber.
Pirelli has had its challenges this year, and is certainly still on a bit of a learning curve trying to produce the best tires for the F1 Championship. It has however according to FIA, produced tires to the specifications and demands they had set forth. While concern continues based on the fact that Pirelli recently signed on to provide tires for F1 through 2018, I’ll give a ‘pass’ to Pirelli on this race in Korea. Too much speculation and talk about the track itself to put the full blame on the tire maker, or so it would seem.