Pirelli says it will not be pressured into favoring one team over another when it comes to making a final decision on tire compounds for the British Grand Prix, despite Ferrari admitting that its hopes of challenging Red Bull Racing could be hurt if the rubber is too hard.
Ferrari's recent upgrades have lifted the team into a position where it appears to be Red Bull Racing's current main rival, and Fernando Alonso was able to finish between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Valencia. However, with the team having struggled for pace earlier this year on Pirelli's hard-compound tire, Ferrari is openly worried about its prospects for Silverstone if that tire is one of the choices for the British track.
A final decision on the matter will be made by Tuesday morning at the earliest and, although Pirelli is aware of how important its selection could be, the Italian tire manufacturer says its priority is in bringing the tire that is best for everybody, not just one team.
"It is a big challenge for us because we want to make sure that we have good racing. Equally, we don't want too many pit stops," explained Pirelli's director of motorsport Paul Hembery. "Silverstone could be very hot – and if it is hot, fast and aggressive, that for us is a big call.
"If it is cold you don't want to have compounds too hard, which then start sliding and graining. It is something we are analyzing. So we will look at the data from Valencia and we need to make a decision by Monday night, or at the latest Tuesday morning."
Hembery was under no illusion how significant Pirelli's decision could be on the competitive order for Silverstone, but said it would be wrong for a decision to be based on helping out individual competitors.
"The teams have a difference of opinion," he said. "We have asked their advice but clearly we don't want to favor or penalize one over the other. We have to take a look at the whole field. We have 12 teams we look at and feel that we are going to make the right choice for them – and also the right choice for us, of course.
"Our main concern is to make sure that we don't penalize any team. Some people have decided that from Barcelona the hard tire favors those with high downforce, so we have to be careful that the strategy based on hard tires is not going to penalize any particular team. Equally we don't want to be in the situation where we have five pit stops, so it is a balance we have to find."
He added: "You have to think what is right for us – and what is right for us is that we don't want more than four pit stops. We would prefer to have three, but Silverstone whatever we do we will probably have four, whatever option we do. As long as we don't have five, that is fundamental for us.
"If it is three or four, then it is mixture of how we balance all the requirements of the teams. We will do a table, we will analyze all the teams' requirements, and we will base it on what is the best for the majority of the teams."