Pirelli apologises to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso over tyre row

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Vettel wins incident-packed Korean GP

Pirelli has apologised to Fernando Alonso following a public row over the quality of Formula 1's tyres.

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery had said Alonso's remarks about tyres were "disappointing", suggesting he seek advice from Sebastian Vettel.

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"It's weird Pirelli spoke out given the season they're having but he apologised and it's all good," Alonso said.

A Pirelli spokesperson said: "Paul and Fernando had a private chat this morning about many different things."

Alonso had said after qualifying at the Korean Grand Prix on Saturday that "the quality of the tyres is very on the limit. If all the cars push 100% from the start of the lap the tyres will not do 5km."

He made it clear he was not blaming Pirelli for Ferrari's lack of competitiveness but said if the tyre was more durable, "at least you could drive".

Hembery responded by saying: "Of course Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers, so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion.

"I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres."

Alonso's criticisms that the tyres were too fragile were borne out by events in the race, when McLaren's Sergio Perez suffered a dramatic failure shortly after heavily locking up his brakes.

It is the latest in a series of failures in races by Pirelli tyres this season - the company was forced to make the design of its tyres more durable following seven failures in one race at the British Grand Prix.

Officials were forced to neutralise the race with a safety car while the debris from Perez's tyre was cleaned up, but not before Red Bull's Mark Webber suffered a puncture after running over it.

Webber said: "Pirelli will put the tyre puncture of Perez down to a lock-up but the reason the drivers are locking up is because there's no tread left.

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Pirelli has been asked by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to produce tyres that deliberately wear out quickly to promote more pit stops and better racing.

Asked what he thought about the races being dominated by tyre management, Webber said: "That's the way the new Formula 1 is.

"The drivers aren't super important. It's what other people want, but that's the way it is. The tyres are wearing a lot and they also explode a bit as well but that's for Pirelli to sort out."

Alonso said after the race: "We speak with facts and they [Pirelli] just use words. Everybody can see that.

"These are tyres that won't last a lap, but as we said [on Saturday], we have zero problems with the performance. It's us who haven't adapted to these 2012 tyres. It's up to us Ferrari, or the drivers, to improve.

"But the tyre marbles [bits of discarded rubber off line] are there, and when it rains they have to stop the races, and then Perez has a blow-out... So we know the tyres are on the limit in terms of quality.

"Hembery had not heard this and he made a mistake, and he came to apologise, so we are thankful for that."