ERJ staff report (TP)
Milan, Italy – Pirelli president Marco Tronchetti Provera has responded to negative comments about the Italian firm’s tires in the current Formula One Grand Prix season.
This week, ERJ reported that Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso said the tires were “too hard”.
But Provera believes there are mitigating circumstances to the present situation and he felt compelled to respond.
"We were absent from Formula One for some 20 years due to the costs," Provera told Speed Week.
"Bernie Ecclestone repeatedly asked us, but each time I answered 'If we are paid, then we come'.
"But to be honest, not until mid-2010 did it become clear that the role of the sole supplier is actually paid. So we tried and we were awarded the contract.”
In 2014, Pirelli's started its second three-year contract as the sole F1 supplier and it has been far less controversial than before.
In 2013, the tires came under fire for being too 'aggressive', and Pirelli had to make a mid-season construction change in the wake of the calamitous British GP – with its exploding tires and excessive amounts of marbles on the track.
After this year’s Monaco GP, Alonso told the BBC: "When they bring normal tires with good grip, we finish the tire in two or three laps. When they bring harder tires we finish the tire in eight or nine laps but we go very slow."
Provera is aware of the "negative comments of individual drivers".
"Basically we listen to any criticism," he said. "But our main focus especially with this new turbo era was always security.
"It is definitely easier to equip just a few teams with tires rather than the whole field, as whenever a team is not going so well, and nobody knows quite who to blame, then usually they start with the tire manufacturer.”