Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery says he is unsure whether his company would stay in F1 if the so-called tire war between rival manufacturers returned to the sport. Hembery reckons such a move would not make sense, as he feels the racing would be much less exciting – but concedes the decision is up for others to make.
"We work for the sport. The sport has to decide what it wants," Hembery said. "If it wants a tire war and processional racing again – like it did in the early 2000s, when the audience disappeared – then that's one approach. It's not for us to decide.
"We will wait and see if the rules change. If they change, then we will consider it. At the moment the teams are certainly not interested in a tire war."
Formula 1 last had a tire war in 2006, when Michelin quit the sport and left Bridgestone as the sole tire supplier. Pirelli replaced the Japanese manufacturer at the start of the 2011 season. Hembery thinks the public is not interested in a fight of the tire suppliers, and believes the move would mean cost would escalate once again.
"We would have to see the rules first, what does it really mean to have a tire war? If it means spending 100 million euros to go half a second quicker – and you can't even prove that you have the better tire, because the [same] teams will dominate still – it is pointless," he said. "We saw that in the past. You'll only get a reputation in F1 as a tire maker if you do an Indianapolis, and you stop a race.
"Ultimately, no one could really make out what tires were on what car when there was a tire war. Nobody knew, because all the money was being spent on trying to find performance that the public couldn't see. And if the public can't see it, we don't understand it."
Citing the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix fiasco as an example, when only the six cars on Bridgestones started the race, Hembery also stated that a tire war would ultimately be unsafe.
"All the teams I've talked to don't want a tire war. They see it as money wasted on an area they can't control, and which has limited value to the public. And ultimately at least for safety issues," he said. "The tire companies would push the safety barriers, because that's where you get performance.
"As we saw it in Indianapolis, that's the ultimate effect of a tire war. I don't think that's good for tire makers, and certainly not good for the sport.