Bernie Ecclestone has hosted a summit meeting with selected drivers and team bosses and the top management of Pirelli in an attempt to calm the waters on the tyre controversy – and has also confirmed that the Italian company will retain its deal under the new tender contract in 2017-19.
Ecclestone invited Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to the lunchtime meeting, along with Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda, Christian Horner and Maurizio Arrivabene. Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera was also in attendance.
The meeting was a response to Spa, and in particular Vettel’s post-race comments about the failures in Belgium being “unacceptable.”
Yesterday FOM issued a statement underlining its support for the Italian company, and one team boss said that the main point of today’s meeting was “to find a way forward with Pirelli without controversy,” a theme that Ecclestone was happy to confirm. He is adamant that drivers should voice their opinions behind closed doors.
“When incidents happen you discuss what they are,” he told this writer. “If you sell me something, and it doesn’t work, I complain to the person I bought it from, I don’t complain outside.
“I want them to think, and if any of them have got problems, they should talk to the people that are making the problems. That’s all. They understand. If you’re Sebastian, you have a bit of a rough time, you get in a car, you’re for sure going to be third, you can’t lose, and something goes wrong, you’re not going to jump out of the car and say, ‘Thank God that happened.’ You would do the same and I would do the same.”
Asked if his support was a clear sign that Pirelli will get the tender Ecclestone said: “Sure, we’re not going to let them go, they’re doing a good job. I said to them a long time ago I don’t want a tyre that’s going to last the whole race.
“They do the very best they can with what they’ve been asked to do. They can make a tyre that you can put on in January and take off in December.”