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Pirelli warn of possible 2014 tire crisis

A team member walks amid Pirelli tyres outside the Red Bull garage at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of N
A team member walks amid Pirelli tyres outside the Red Bull garage at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of N

By Amlan Chakraborty

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) - Pirelli warned on Friday they will not be able to supply tires for next year's Formula One season unless they are allowed to do more winter testing with an up-to-date car.

A spate of blowouts earlier this season and the criticism that followed led to a change in tire compounds and structure, but even that could not satisfy drivers including Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

New rules for 2014 are likely to pose different challenges for the tires and Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery told reporters at the Indian Grand Prix that the first official test with all the teams at Jerez at the end of January was too little, too late.

"Based on the comments of our chairman a few weeks ago, there has to be some running or we can't do the tires," said Hembery, referring to reported remarks published in Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

Hembery said he would like ideally to be able to test with 2014 cars in December but the teams are already racing against the clock to be ready for Jerez.

"Not by force, we'd like some common sense. We have to do some testing. If we can't, we won't be able to provide the tires," he said.

Alonso was critical of the tires at the South Korean Grand Prix, complaining they could not even last a fast lap of the circuit without their performance dropping off.

Hembery said the Italian tire manufacturers faced a "tough job" and offered an alternative perspective of the current season where tire management has assumed greater importance.

"People expect just the magic things sometimes out of thin air...We still see some interesting races and interesting scenarios. That is what the sports is asking for."

Pirelli have announced a tire test with McLaren at Italy's Vallelunga circuit near Rome on November 11-12 with next year's tire and a 2011 car, subject to approval by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

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