LONDON (Reuters) - Brazilian driver Felipe Massa says Pirelli’s choice of tires for his home Formula One grand prix next month is “very dangerous”.
The Italian company announced last week it would be taking its two hardest compounds to Interlagos -- the hard and medium tires -- due to the high energy demands of the anti-clockwise Sao Paulo circuit.
“Dangerous, very dangerous,” Massa told reporters when asked at the Russian Grand Prix for his opinion on the choice.
“I have no idea why they chose medium and hard and it’s completely unacceptable.”
Formula One’s only current Brazilian driver said the conditions at the circuit could be wet and cold and a hard tire might not provide enough grip in circumstances where drivers needed to take a gamble on dry tires.
Massa, whose concerns about safety have been heightened by the horrific accident suffered by friend and fellow driver Jules Bianchi in Japan this month, also said the track had been resurfaced, which might cause additional problems.
“I already spoke to most of the drivers, I spoke to the FIA, I spoke to everybody, so more than what I did I think is difficult,” said the Brazilian. “We wait and see.”
Pirelli’s motorsport head Paul Hembery was puzzled by Massa’s comments, pointing out the hard tire had been raced previously at Interlagos, which hosts the penultimate race of the season.
“It’s one of the more aggressive circuits we have on the calendar and has the risk of creating blistering problems. We know that the soft tire under extreme loads has the potential to blister,” he said.
Hembery agreed however that the new asphalt could be a factor and said the company would double check that before the next meeting of the sport’s tire working group.
“If there’s unanimous agreement, we can reconsider,” he added, although any change would be based solely on the technical data.
Editing by Peter Rutherford