Pirelli racing director Mario Isola met with Formula 1 drivers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to discuss how to improve its wet tires.
The performance of the wet Pirelli was criticized by several drivers after the rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month, and Isola attended the Friday drivers’ briefing to discuss ways to improve the performance. Pirelli had already said it would work to improve the tire and the aim of the meeting was to better understand the concerns of the drivers.
“It was a very productive discussion because we do not test the wet tires a lot in development tests or during events,” said Isola. “We really have little information on wet-weather tires, especially the wet because with the intermediate, with the regulations, they have an addition set on Friday and if it’s raining they use the intermediate more.
“The wet is not used a lot and when it happens during the race, we have a real test. So it is important to understand which are the areas and the direction we have to work to make a better product.”
Isola stressed that, while Pirelli wants to improve the tire, the key is to set the correct targets for what characteristics the drivers want. He believes the feedback from the drivers will help to understand what these targets should be.
“We had an interesting discussion on the different points of view and I collected a lot of useful feedback to understand what is the direction we want to take,” said Isola. “We need a decision – what is the target?
“We can move it onto a product that is more suitable for heavier rain conditions, then we also need to evaluate the consequences. Do they then need to switch onto the intermediate tire earlier?
“We have to consider the different aspects of any decision and that is the point that is important to discuss. Once we agree this is the target, OK, fine, we all go in the same direction.
EXTRA WET TIRE POSSIBLE
Isola confirmed one possible option is to introduce two different wet tires, which would be taken to certain races depending on the track characteristics.
“One aspect we consider in our analysis was that if we go to Silverstone, Suzuka or circuits that are high-energy, with rough tarmac, or we go to Monaco, Brazil or other circuits that are smooth or have cold conditions, at the moment we have exactly the same tire.
“Do we need to consider developing two different wet-weather tires? Not to take both to one event, but we will nominate it. For Monaco, we have wet type one and for Silverstone wet type two – this is also a possibility.
“If it improved the performance of the tire it is a possibility, but to develop two different products, testing is necessary.”
The drivers were also given a presentation on the Halo cockpit protection device, incorporating feedback from all 21 drivers who have so far tested it.