Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean were not overly impressed by their first impressions of Pirelli’s 2020 tire compounds following the opening day of testing in Abu Dhabi.
All the teams are taking part in a dedicated two-day test at the Yas Marina Circuit where they can analyze the new 2020 tires and compare them to this season’s compounds. Bottas set the pace on Tuesday with his fastest lap coming on the 2019 C4 tire. After completing 138 laps, he admitted he was tired but had found little improvement with Pirelli’s new tires.
“After a race weekend and after such a long season, you can feel it, no question about it,” Bottas said. “At least I am in a better shape now after having the flu. But a long day of testing is part of the routine, so no worries. You just try to be as consistent as possible and repeat one run after another.
“Just the tires (were tested). I had to say it felt that nothing better would have been found from these new tires; I got the impression they were even a little bit slower compared to the old ones. They behaved in the same way.”
Haas’ Romain Grosjean was similarly reserved about the new compounds he tried from Pirelli on Tuesday, having also managed more than 100 laps.
“They’re different,” Grosjean said. “There are some positives and there are some negatives. They did a big change, and are they what everyone would like to have? No.
“We have to look at how we’ve been running the cars and make sure that we are on the maximum of everything. But if you’re asking if I’m very happy about the new tires and if it’s going to solve some of the problems of thermal degradation sensitivity when following another car, I just have to tell the truth, and no it’s not going to change that problem fully.
“The degradation on some compounds was better. Being able to run lower tire pressures also helps you; obviously they don’t balloon that much. So they are the positives, but it’s not what you would dream of.”