Paul Hembery has clarified that Sebastian Vettel’s crash during testing last week was not as a result of the new specification tyres.
Vettel was fortunate to escape with only bruising following his collision with the barrier at Fiorano, which resulted in the test being halted. He was providing Pirelli with a sitrep on their 2017 wet tyres when the accident happened, but Hembery is adamant that it was caused by something other than the rubber and that no weakness has been uncovered.
The new compounds have been designed to withstand cornering speeds 40kph greater than last season and 20% more downforce. They will come into play alongside the new regulations being introduced this year.
Hembery suggested during an interview with German broadcaster RTL that the unusual climate may have contributed to the incident.
“It was very cold on that day,” he said. “It was extremely abnormal conditions that made testing very difficult and delicate.
“It was only 4 degrees, which is unusual. To get the tyres to work in those temperatures is the problem. The biggest challenge for us is not having seen the new cars. We’ll probably only see if our data corresponds to reality on Saturday night in Melbourne.”
Mario Isola, Pirelli motorsport director, also informed the broadcaster that they had manufactured a range of back-up tyres to guard against any discrepancies should the simulated data used to model the tyres prove inaccurate in reality.
“Some elements are difficult to predict, so we have prepared five reserve compounds that can be used if the real track data does not coincide with what we simulated,” he said.