Pirelli is ready to consider a new philosophy for its wet weather Formula 1 tyres following talks with drivers in Abu Dhabi on Friday night.
F1 racing manager Mario Isola attended the regular drivers' briefing to discuss at length the issue of its wet tyre design following concerns expressed by a number of leading drivers in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Isola spoke at length with the drivers – including GPDA director Sebastian Vettel – to better understand what they want from the wet tyres and make it clearer to them about the challenges in creating rubber for rainy conditions.
Speaking about what the drivers had asked Pirelli to do, Isola said: "We had quite an interesting discussion on many different points of view with most of them. I collected a lot of useful feedback to understand which is the direction we want to take for this product."
Defining the target
Isola explained that he would go away and consider the drivers' requests, to better work out whether a new philosophy of what track conditions the intermediate and extreme tyre are aimed at is required.
He made it clear that it was not a case of simply making the extreme tyre perfect for monsoon conditions, because then that could leave drivers without tyres suitable for when the circuit is less wet.
"You cannot have a product for an extreme wet tyre for F1, that works in extreme wet conditions and on a track that is almost dry. So we need to take a decision.
"Do we need a product that is more for wet conditions? Is it okay now or do they want to move the intermediate? What is the target? Once we define the target it is possible to develop the product in the direction they want. But we need to define the target.
"We can move it towards a product that is more suitable for heavier rain conditions, but then we also need to evaluate all the consequences. Do they then need to switch earlier to the intermediate tyre?
"We have to consider all the different aspects of any decision. That is the point that is for me important to discuss. Once we agree, then fine, we all go in the same direction."
One possible outcome is for Pirelli to be given scope to create bespoke wet tyres that are better suited to different circumstances – because wet demands at Silverstone are very different from those experienced at Monaco.
"One aspect we considered in our analysis was with the same wet and inter we go to Silverstone, Suzuka or circuits that are high energy circuits, with rough tarmac, and we go to Monaco, Brazil or other circuits that are smooth or with cold conditions.
"Do we need to consider developing maybe two different extreme wet weather tyres? Not to take both to one event, but we nominate – so for Monaco we have wet type one and for Silverstone we have wet type two. This is also a possibility."
Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz said he was happy with the way the discussions with Isola went, as he said his priority was having a tyre that was not so susceptible to aquaplaning.
"No one was angry. No one was criticising too much," he said. "I think we all tried to help the FIA make the right decision. We all tried to help Pirelli create a better tyre.
"We are trying to give drivers' feedback to try to improve the show next year and regarding the feeling with the Pirelli tyres in extreme conditions.
"Aquaplanning is the main concern at the moment and it's what can create a big accident at the moment.
"Visibility is up to the driver and how much he wants to race, but to have a car in the middle of the straight stopped and 20 other drivers arriving at 300km/h is what really creates the dangerous situation."