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Wolff frustrated by "balloon" tyre situation at Spa

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Wolff frustrated by "balloon" tyre situation at Spa
By:
Aug 30, 2016, 12:51 PM

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he does not like that tyre pressures and temperatures have become a key factor in Formula 1 races.

 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Pirelli tyre technicians
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Pirelli tyre on a Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate with Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Pirelli tyres

The Belgian Grand Prix weekend was dominated by talk about the extreme degradation caused by teams having to run with such high minimum tyre pressures.

Several drivers were unhappy with the situation, as Jenson Button said at one point that they were having to do 'crazy' things to keep the tyres alive.

Wolff has admitted to his own personal frustration with the situation, even though his team has proved among the best at managing the current rubber.

“I understand why Pirelli does it,” he said in relation to the high pressures. “We are at the last season of these tyres. We had failures last year and integrity is super-important for a tyre supplier.

“That is why we are blowing them up like balloons, which hurts. All our development and all our simulations are being hurt by a tyre that is completely different in its behaviour than we were expecting.

“Having a contact patch that is half the size that was expected, it is very difficult. But I don't want to put blame on anybody, because it is the same for everybody.

“For us, we have been consistent in our development and putting the car on the track that we felt was right. But then you are thrown off the track a little bit on a Friday or Saturday because the behaviour is completely different to expected.

"This is what it is and hopefully next year with the larger tyres, it will be different.”

Red Bull parallel

Mercedes has found itself in a similar situation to Red Bull a few years ago, where the high downforce its car is producing cannot be translated on to the track at times because it punishes the tyres too much.

Wolff said it would be easy to speak out and claim the situation was unfair, but said that equally Pirelli faced often conflicting demands in terms of what fans, teams and the sport's commercial bosses wanted.

“If we switch off all microphones, maybe I will be moaning and complaining that this is unfair and shouldn't be doing that with the tyres,” he said.

“I also don't like to look at the temperatures and have a race strategy based on temperatures and tyre pressures. But it is it what it is.

“It's not sportsmanlike to find excuses. You just need to adapt the best possible way. We have a car with a lot of downforce and that is hurting us, because we are not able to put the downforce on track as the tyre just gives up.

“But again this is maybe going too far already. They [Pirelli] are having a tough job in giving us a product that is right for the teams, right for the engineers, right for the spectators, and right for a great show. So there will always be somebody moaning.”

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Belgian GP
Location Spa-Francorchamps
Teams Mercedes Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble