Bob Fernley admits F1's tyre changes are 'not healthy' for Force India's performance
"There will be some winners and some losers. For sure, we're a loser," team boss admits
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 08/07/13 3:49pm
Force India's Bob Fernley admits the tyre changes currently being implemented for safety reasons are "not healthy" for the team's performance.
Fernley, the team's Deputy Team Principal, was speaking after the German Grand Prix, in which Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil both finished out of the points for the first time this season.
Pirelli introduced a stop-gap rear tyre at the Nurburgring in response to the series of blowouts at the British Grand Prix, while the FIA limited set-up techniques - tyre pressures, camber angles and practice of rear tyre swapping - teams use to extract performance and durability.
The weekend passed without incident but Force India's performance clearly suffered, with Fernley adamant the two were linked.
"We just didn't perform well today, really, or this weekend. We've been below-par all weekend," he said.
"The tyres obviously have an effect but how big an effect is difficult to determine. Is there a great deal of point in making the effort to try and figure it out, when we're going to have a completely new set of tyres as well for Hungary?
"It was a case of trying to get through this weekend."
Step two of the changes sees Pirelli introduce another new tyre in Budapest which combines the current softer compounds with the Kevlar construction used last season
Force India have the chance to test them at their home track in next week's Young Driver Test but Fernley hinted that there could be more results like Germany's to come.
He also said the team will have to divert resources back from their 2014 programme to undertake re-design work on their current VJM06. The new tyres will have a different profile and so affect airflow around the car.
Asked whether he was confident the German GP was a one-off, Fernley replied: "No, I don't think we are confident. There's quite a significant change, so obviously what we've got to look at is run it at Silverstone. The positive thing about it is that we can do a complete back-to-back comparison from only a week ago.
"The weather was quite good on the race day, so we've got good data to do the comparisons with.
"But the tyre is so significantly different, and the car is designed specifically around that '13 spec. tyre, that we will have to re-engage design work on something that we'd actually thought we'd stopped, because obviously we want to move on to the '14 car.
"So it's not good. It's not healthy for Force India."
Along with Ferrari and Lotus, Force India vetoed the German GP rear tyre - which was originally designed to prevent the delaminations seen earlier in the season - from being used at Silverstone as they feared they would lose out to rivals.
It didn't seem to hinder Lotus's performance at the weekend, but Fernley added: "I think it's hurting other teams as well. I'm sure Ferrari are in that situation; Lotus seemed to go well today but it's quite significant again for them.
"There will be some winners and some losers. For sure, we're a loser. The question is, how much do we lose?"
Force India remain fifth in the Constructors' Championship, although McLaren closed the gap after both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez earned points finishes.