Pirelli could commit to more one-stop races in 2019 in an attempt to make drivers push harder for a full race distance rather than trying to manage soft tire compounds.
The tire supplier was targeting multiple pit stops during races this year, but as overtaking was difficult on many circuits, teams continued to manage their pace to complete one-stop races in order to maintain track position. The response was for Pirelli to choose softer compounds, but that just limited the pace even more instead of opening up different strategies.
Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola is open to a change in approach next season.
“The range and construction are defined [for 2019] and we cannot change it now,” Isola said. “What we can change is the selection. I discussed that with drivers and also with teams but there is no clear indication of the direction to take.
“That’s why I want to involve them and the teams in the selection, because it is not clear what we have to do for next year. Maybe we have to go a bit more conservative, we have seen this year most of the races with one stop. The only result is that we went softer and softer and teams were managing the pace more and more.
“So is it good that we continue with this approach or we just accept that we have one-stop races but maybe we go one step harder and teams can push, and drivers can push? If you ask me my personal opinion is it’s better to go in this [harder] direction. We accept that we have one-stop races but at least we give the opportunity to drivers to push.”
With aerodynamic changes being introduced to try to make it easier for cars to follow one another, Isola warns Pirelli has to make a decision before seeing the impact of the new regulations.
“Next year we will have a new aero package. It’s not clear if it is going to make a big difference or not. If you speak to the teams somebody is saying that it is a difference, somebody is saying in a couple of races it’ll be the same, they’re the experts, so we’re just collecting the feedback. They will have 5kg more fuel, that means they can manage a little bit less the fuel. We know that in some races they had to manage the fuel as it was not enough to finish the race.
“So we have to consider all the package, with more fuel they can push more and at this point it’s probably better to give them more consistent tires and they push and fight on track instead of overcut, undercut and trying to make tricks during the pit stop.
“The pit stop is part of the race but I think that everybody likes overtaking on track rather than when the car is in the pit lane.”
The deadline for Pirelli to select the compounds it will use at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix is December 6, with teams then choosing their own allocations from the nominated tires.