Small changes could add up to better racing in 2019

Image by Hone/LAT

Small changes could add up to better racing in 2019

Formula 1

Small changes could add up to better racing in 2019


The combination of a number of small changes in Formula 1 could lead to better racing in 2019, according to Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola.

Regulation changes have been introduced that focus on the front and rear wings — as well as bargeboards and brake ducts — designed to make it easier for one car to follow another. In addition, teams will have more fuel compared to 2018, and Isola says Pirelli accepted it is more likely to see one-stop races and has selected tire compounds that will allow drivers to push more.

“The reality is last year teams were just planning strategies on one stop because they don’t have any incentive to go on two-stops, come out back in traffic and then have to recover more than 20 seconds,” Isola told RACER. “So the result is that everybody is managing the pace. If you go very soft with the choices they still try a one-stop strategy.

“At this point if we accept that we have one-stop races, it’s better to have a slightly more conservative selection in order to give drivers the opportunity to push more. Also because we always have to consider the full package.

“The full package is that there is also five more kilos of fuel, which means they can push a bit more compared to 2018. Last year we had a few races that were fuel-limited, and pushing more will mean they have a different approach. So if we give them tires that are a bit more consistent and they can push more, and they have the fuel, all together it should give a better result.”

While the 2019 tires are not a radical departure from last year’s compounds, Isola says they have been designed with all of the sport’s changes in mind, to try and encourage drivers to attempt to overtake.

“It’s based on considering all the differences compared to last year. So more fuel, less downforce, drivers want to push, the reality that they’re just stopping once… All of that. It was not possible to create something completely different compared to the past so we said ‘OK if this is the situation it’s much better to go slightly more conservative but try to improve the show with drivers that can push’.

“With the new aero package, if they lose less downforce when they follow each other, the new tires are designed to better manage the heat. The compounds are designed to reduce overheating, we are slightly more conservative — this is also helping the overheating — and then with fuel and so on they should have the possibility to push more and therefore try to overtake more on track.”

IndyCar Debrief