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Exclusive interview with Stefano Domenicali: People underestimate the challenge for Pirelli

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has defended Pirelli over recent criticism leveled at the tyre manufacturer, saying the scale of the engineering challenges that face them are enormous.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali believes that Pirelli haven't deserved the criticism that they have gotten in recent weeks, following the tyre blow-outs that caused Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll to crash out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The incidents caused quite a bit of backlash, particularly after the Pirelli investigation suggested teams may have been running the tyres outside of their recommended parameters - a suggestion the teams pushed back against. Domenicali has since defended Pirelli, saying that the tyre manufacturer deserves more respect for the quality of their engineering work. "I think the most important thing is that we are especially grateful for what Pirelli is doing," Domenicali told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview. "Sometimes we get into a situation where we criticise a certain party without realising that that party is an important partner for Formula 1. The technical challenges Pirelli faces are enormous. After all, there are no other cars in the world with the same performance, so we have to have a lot of respect for what Pirelli is doing." Domenicali acknowledged the need for tyres to be built with safety in mind, with Pirelli responding to the failures by going to the FIA with new recommendations. These were enforced through a Technical Directive issued by the FIA, while Pirelli have introduced a new construction rear tyre which will be used from Silverstone onwards. "The tyre must also be able to put on a show," Domenicali said. "And because Pirelli is the only manufacturer, the teams can ask for,for example, super soft tyres that only last ten laps, or tyres that last a little longer, with which one can devise several strategies. It is a very difficult issue for Pirelli." Domenicali said that it's simply too easy to single out Pirelli as the sole culprit for the issues, explaining: "The tyre is the connecting factor between the car and the asphalt and the way the car sits on the asphalt is also affecting the behaviour of the tyres." On top of that, there's the fact the cars change from year to year, with changing levels of downforce and grip meaning quite a bit of Pirelli's preparation work has to be done through simulation and calculation. "The cars keeps getting better and better and better," Domenicali said. "And I don't want to act as a representative of Pirelli but, if you look at how often Pirelli can test with new cars, you have to conclude it's not easy for them. People underestimate the performance levels of this car and maybe it would be good for Pirelli if the teams made themselves available to Pirelli more often."

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