Paul Hembery on Formula One II
In the conclusion of our interview with Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsports Director, MTD Racing News asked him to discuss some of the challenges facing F1 today.
Given the difficulties Pirelli has experienced with gaining sufficient track testing is an expansion of testing with the teams a pre-requisite to the renewal of Pirelli's contract in F1?
Well this is a little bit related to what we're being asked to do if we have to substantially change the product, meaning wider tires, 19-inch rims, then there will be a need to have a different approach to the verification process. You certainly wouldn't want to turn up at a track like Jerez in February and then go racing in Melbourne seven or eight weeks later, that wouldn't be a sufficiently ample way to test a dramatic change in product. But equally it's envisaged a very important change in the vehicles so there would need to be an exception made to the current testing or lack of testing regulations to enable us to prepare sufficiently for such a change.
Formula One's been accused of neglecting its heritage - what importance does Pirelli attach to heritage moving forwards?
We shouldn't be scared of changing things. Heritage you can respect, but if in business you respect only heritage you'd probably close the business very quickly. We need to respect the future; yesterday's happened and it's gone. So heritage is fine, it allows you to build a bigger and better sport but it shouldn't be the driver for what you need to do in the future.
If nothing changes, if things stay the same as they are, will Pirelli stay in F1?
We will stay in F1 if the conditions and the sport remain attractive. It's not a case of the sport is broken and there are a lot of positives in Formula One and we're happy with our presence in F1 but, as we do in our day-to-day business, we're also ambitious and we'd like to grow our business along with the sport of Formula One together. And that means that it's maybe time for a rethink of certain basis in which we currently perform and present Formula One.