In a new interview with F1's official website, Pirelli's Paul Hembery has indicated that he is satisfied with the effect of the all-new 2017 tyres on the track action so far this season, saying that the lack of objections from teams and drivers has benefited everyone.
When asked about the early development of the new tyres and the challenges faced by Pirelli, Hembery said the company did not know what to expect due to the typical clean slate encountered before every season: "Well, because of a lot of unknowns coming into the season it was a bit tricky," he revealed. "We didn't have an actual car to see all the changes when we started with the tyres and only at the Barcelona test did we see the new cars and how they worked with our tyres. All the time before that we worked with three different hybrid cars, which helped as we could fit the tyres, but that was not exactly what we saw when we got to Barcelona."
Despite this, however, the rubber has quickly made its mark in a mostly positive manner. When it was put to Hembery that races are still being decided by tyres, and that the "cleverer teams" are therefore winning, he responded: "To be serious, we have an interesting championship to start with, and it hasn't been as clear cut who would be the leading team. Maybe the gap between all the teams is a bit large - between the frontrunners and the rest - but that always happens if you have a significant rules change. Just remember how it was when the new engines were introduced: a few people were leading and the rest lagged behind. Now we have two teams who are very close together."
With changes to strategies that have led to one-stop races and teams such as Sauber achieving early points as a result, Hembery was asked if the long life of the new Pirellis surprised him; in answering, he suggested that it could lead to new possibilities for many teams in the future which would likely improve the racing even further. "Honestly, at most of the tracks we could do the whole race distance on one set of tyres. So track position, Safety Car eventuality and the layout of the track will open up opportunities for the teams."
Although he conceded that there is still "a long list" of future developments that have been put forward by the teams, Hembery also added that tyre wear is "very balanced" among them and that the company is "in a good place" as a result. "It is a good co-operation with all teams and drivers - so we're all winners," he concluded, underlining the confidence that Pirelli has in its major contribution to F1's exciting new era.