Pirelli has downplayed claims that its tires are now 'governing' Formula 1.
Red Bull's Mark Webber suggested in Malaysia that tires were now the dominant factor in dictating performance, with drivers bracing themselves for a tough time managing their rubber at Sepang. But Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery responded to those suggestions by claiming that such criticisms were nothing new, and it will only be a matter of time before the teams and drivers get on top of the situation.
When asked for his reaction to Webber's comments, Hembery said: "To be honest, you can take the quotes from the last two seasons and, in the first three races, it is exactly the same. There tends to be a phase at the start of the year and, after six to eight races, it all changes.
"If we look back at the type of comments that you had at the start of the year when everyone is trying to find out where they are, and how to maximise the combination of chassis and tire performance, it tends to start like this. But then it starts to move away when people get used to it."
Hembery reckons the Malaysian Grand Prix will not deliver the high levels of degradation that were witnessed in practice, with him predicting a three-stop strategy. He also dismissed any talk that Pirelli could be forced to consider changing its rubber if things prove too unpredictable.
"We don't see the need to," he said. "We had the most exciting Melbourne in years. Do you want us to make boring races?"