Pirelli defends 2021 F1 tyres amid vocal driver criticism

Pirelli Formula 1 boss Mario Isola has defended the company’s 2021 tyres as drivers voiced criticism after running them in practice in Bahrain on Friday.

Pirelli defends 2021 F1 tyres amid vocal driver criticism

Isola insists there is “no reason” not to pursue the plan to introduce the new tyres, despite world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel suggesting that the current construction should be kept for a third season.

All teams ran the new tyres, which feature a new and more robust construction designed to deal with rising downforce levels, in FP1 and FP2 in Sakhir.

At the end of the day’s running feedback from drivers was universally negative, with Hamilton pointing out that they were a second slower than the regular tyres.

Read Also:

One of the main issues was that the tyres were run within a normal race weekend, on cars that were optimised for the current constructions, and with minimal changes of set-up.

The wider front construction also has an aerodynamic impact, which is why some teams ran with rakes fitted in FP1 in order to assess the change.

“We discussed the introduction of the new tyre, together with the teams and together with the FIA, we explained the reason behind that, and we got the homologation from the FIA,” said Isola when asked by Motorsport.com if it was still possible to keep the current tyres.

“And we took the opportunity to give the new specification to the teams in order to collect data and to have useful information on the tyres.

“We are not discussing about the possibility to go back to the current tyre. And to be honest, we don't want to go back to the current tyre, because we did our job, we made a tyre that is more resistant to integrity, that was the main target.

“This is why I don't think there is a reason to go back to the previous tyre. There is always a discussion, if I look back, every time we try to introduce something new, how can I say, some people are not happy.

“But there is a sort of natural resistance to changes in F1, and that's part of the job. I think that we have a specification that is an improvement, and there is no reason why we shouldn't introduce it next year.”

Isola said he wanted more details about what the drivers are not happy with.

“If there is opposition, I want to understand why there is opposition," he said. "Because if the opposition is that there is a little bit less grip, as long as the tyres are the same for everybody, it's not a disadvantage for somebody. If the opposition is that there is a bit of understeer, they've just thought about the car.”

Isola stressed that it was inevitable that drivers would not feel comfortable with the new tyres fitted to cars that were designed around the current tyres.

“I can understand that, because I consider that they are running on cars that have been optimised on the current tyre since two years now, because they are the same tyre that they use in 2019," he said.

“So they have a level of confidence, of preparation, and they are able to set up the car with the current tyre that obviously it's the end of the life cycle. And every time that you propose a new tyre, there is some criticism, there is a change in balance.

“For example, I heard the comment, I believe it was a team radio from [Max] Verstappen, saying that he was feeling some understeer.

"We warned the teams that with the new construction, they can have more understeer, and we invited the teams to correct the set-up in order to re-balance the car. This is obviously something they will do next year.

"I'm sure that they will find the way to balance the car, and to extract the performance from the 2021 tyres next year.”

Isola pointed out that improved performance was not the target for the new tyres, and that in any case the Bahrain running was not representative, as it was a test for the teams.

“They have been focussed today mainly in collecting data, rather than extracting the performance from the tyre. And the driver feels the performance, not other elements," he said.

“This morning was important for the teams to collect aero data, we saw some teams with the rack to collect that data, because the front profile is different.

“We decided not to change the rear profile to avoid changes in the design of the floor. But the front profile is different. And for sure, it needs some adaptation. They have to adapt the car a little bit to the new product.”

shares
comments

Related video

The Bahrain sacrifice Mercedes made to find an edge for 2021
Previous article

The Bahrain sacrifice Mercedes made to find an edge for 2021

Next article

Ferrari wants "soft landing" for budget cap extended

Ferrari wants "soft landing" for budget cap extended
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021