F1 drivers insist 2021 tyre concerns not just about lap time

Formula 1 drivers say their concerns about Pirelli’s 2021 tyres go beyond them just being slower, as debate rages about whether the sport should stick with the current rubber.

F1 drivers insist 2021 tyre concerns not just about lap time
Listen to this article

A number of senior drivers, including Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, hit out at the 2021 prototypes following testing in Bahrain on Friday, with some calling for the current tyres to be kept for next year.

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that F1 needed to accept the slower rubber because Pirelli’s 2021 plans were about making the tyres more robust and avoiding the failures that had been experienced this year.

But despite the safety aspect, drivers say there are bigger issues at play, and other aspects where Pirelli needs to raise its game.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz said that there was frustration that requests put to Pirelli in a target letter from drivers had not been addressed.

“On the drivers’ target letter, there's also been a lot of requests regarding performance, overheating, and blistering, apart from safety, and obviously, safety is one of our highest priorities, if not the highest,” he said.

“But after two or three years of the same tyre compound, you also expect improvements in performance, or at least in overheating issues that we're having recently.

“So that's why the drivers are talking a bit more about the tyre itself, on that overheating side, and on the feeling of the tyre

“We want to make the tyre more or less prone to overheating, which in the end is what limits us in the race from creating a better show and pushing as Formula 1 drivers.”

Red Bull’s Alex Albon said that the unease about the new tyres was not just based on the lap time, with them being around one second slower, but also in the way that they degraded.

“It’s the wrong way,” he said. “We’re not going in the right direction in terms of tyre development, so it’s been a bit tricky.

“Of course I think there’s some work to be done, and I’m sure we’re going to be doing some more testing on the new tyres, but I think on average, that tyre was about a second off the pace to what we have now. It was quite slow and degraded quite a lot.

“Obviously we’re still pushing for a robust tyre that also delivers good performance, and that doesn’t overheat so quickly. But unfortunately what we tested wasn’t in the right way.”

Sainz’s teammate Lando Norris said he understood the safety reasons behind the changes, but felt that car changes being introduced for 2021 would help ease any concerns anyway.

Asked if drivers would really reject tyres that were being introduced for improved safety, Norris said: “That's a decision we need to have.

“We're having discussions as drivers on what we think is best. Obviously there's the safety concern inside of it, but there's already things being done to limit us from the downforce and grip side of things, which is the aero changes that we have for next year already.

“I think we need to chat a bit more between us as drivers, and the FIA and Pirelli and just come to an agreement together.”

Read Also:

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo said the level of frustration was understandable considering the efforts teams made to improve car performance, only to have that then taken away by tyres that did not deliver as much.

“We can always ask if we want more grip, that's fair enough,” he explained. “And as drivers, we always probably want more.

“But then there's also just the function of a tyre and giving back something. When the teams develop so much money on aero and mirrors and all these little bits, and then you obviously put a tyre on that doesn't support any of that, then obviously that's where I guess the frustration comes out in a few of the comments and thoughts."

shares
comments

Related video

Kvyat: "People are calling me quite a bit" for 2021 drive
Previous article

Kvyat: "People are calling me quite a bit" for 2021 drive

Next article

Ferrari: Leclerc lacking usual confidence in Bahrain

Ferrari: Leclerc lacking usual confidence in Bahrain
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022