Paul Hembery: Austin wet running “absolutely superb”


Pirelli boss Paul Hembery is hoping the wet tyre test set to take place at the Paul Ricard circuit in France will be positive as the tyre manufacturer aim to develop the full wet weather Formula 1 tyres.

Hembery is happy to be visiting a venue that is able to supply the facilities for a full-on wet weather test, and he hopes the three teams present – Scuderia Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and McLaren-Honda – will aid the development of the latest evolution of Full Wets.

“The good thing is we are going to one of the facilities you can hold a controlled wet tyre test,” revealed Hembery to The Checkered Flag at the Autosport International Show. “The key to wet testing is having the water applied in a way that’s uniform, otherwise it’s very hard to make comparison between one solution or another of tyres.

”Three teams, which is more than adequate for what we need to do, but it’s still only one day, so it’s a little bit limited from that point of view but it’s better than not doing anything. 

“We have a few solutions, evolutions rather than revolutions of what we have, and we hope to learn a bit more to take into the season. If we find something that works sufficiently then we’ll introduce it this season.”

Hembery insisted the teams not present at the test will not ultimately be disadvantaged compared to the three teams testing in France, feeling that they will get adequate time during any wet practice session to test the new compound, should they be introduced at all.

“It’s Paul Ricard, it’s not a race venue, and we tend to get quite a lot of rain early on in the season so during free practice sessions they will get adequate time to evaluate any changes that we make,” said Hembery.

“As I said its evolution rather than revolution so we’re quite confident when they have their first running in the wet that any changes that we make will be understood very rapidly.”

Hembery is also hoping the test will help silence some of the critics who have lambasted Pirelli for its wet weather compounds in recent years, although he was delighted with the amount of running seen during the 2015 United States Grand Prix in extreme wet conditions, feeling they learned a lot more there than they had since they re-entered Formula 1.

”A little bit, yeah, whether we find the absolute solutions is another matter,” said Hembery. “The best wet testing we’ve done was actually in Austin because people thought we were going to have such a wet race that we did more running in the rain there than we’d done in five years.

“That was absolutely superb and actually taught us, the teams and drivers a lot more because very rarely do we run with full rains, but we were able to run extensively and maybe some of the ideas some people had were changed following that amount of running.

“Equally it opened up the opportunities of areas to work on that maybe we’d underestimated.”

Looking forward to 2017, Hembery insists the next generation of F1 wet tyre will need intensive testing, especially with the change of tyre dimensions coming in.

“Going ahead to 2017 with such a big change in tyre dimensions then we will have to do quite extensive wet testing to develop those tyres,” said Hembery.