Pirelli move to dispel marble concerns 14 Apr 2011
With new-for-2011 suppliers Pirelli specifically designing challenging tyre compounds to test the teams and drivers, tyre management and strategy have become real talking points this season. An unexpected by-product of their aggressive PZero tyres, however, has been a growth in the size and number of rubber 'marbles' that they shed onto the circuit during Grands Prix.
These strips of rubber, which weigh on average 10-20 grams, have always existed in the sport, but the characteristics of Pirellis compounds mean that the pieces are larger and softer than those seen in the past.
After last weekends Malaysian Grand Prix, an event known to be particularly hard on tyres, some drivers voiced concerns about the marbles, which can compromise grip when moving off-line to overtake. But ahead of this weekends Chinese race Pirelli have sought to calm those fears, whilst also promising to look into reducing the number of marbles in the future.
You cant make an omelette without breaking eggs, or, in the case of Malaysia, rubber, explained Pirellis Motorsport director Paul Hembery. The rubber marbles on the track are a natural consequence of the increased degradation that has led to more exciting races: all that rubber has to go somewhere, just as it has always done in the past.
Having said that, were here to serve the teams best interests and we're looking at ways of reducing some of the deposits in the future. But thats not going to change our fundamental philosophy: we want to give racing back to the racers.
Pirelli expect that this weekends cooler temperatures and the Shanghai tracks less abrasive surface will mean up to 30 percent less tyre wear than in Malaysia. The on-track action gets underway on Friday.
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