Pirelli open to keeping 2019 tires after test reaction

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images/LAT

Pirelli open to keeping 2019 tires after test reaction

Formula 1

Pirelli open to keeping 2019 tires after test reaction


Pirelli would have no objection to use its 2019 tires next season after mixed feedback from drivers during the 2020 tire test in Abu Dhabi.

Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas were both critical of the 2020 compounds on Tuesday, with Antonio Giovinazzi similarly finding little improvement in the new tires after a morning of testing on Wednesday. Pirelli head of F1 Mario Isola says there have been some positive aspects but that he is willing to not use the new tires if the teams don’t want to.

“The target is not to have a tire that is quicker or with the highest peak of grip, but to have a tire with more consistency, less overheating and a wider working range of the compounds,” Isola said. “This is the target — the teams know exactly what we are looking for so I am sure we will have good feedback in terms of the quality. Then we are open to any decision.

“Mixed (feedback so far), because some of them found an improvement in some characteristics of the tire or some compounds but not an improvement on some other characteristics, or in some cases the new tires are not working at the expected level. So that’s why it will not be very easy to understand the real performance of the tires.

“The current cars are very sophisticated, it’s very difficult. Every time you change a little bit — and the tires are an important part of the car — the feeling and the reaction is huge. So we need to sit down, look at the data, cross the data with the drivers’ feedback which is also an important part of our job, and finally understand which is the best solution together with the rest of the sport.”

With a decision required by Monday, December 9 to allow Pirelli to nominate the 2020 tire compounds for the opening races, Isola says seven of the 10 teams would have to request a change, otherwise the new tires will be used.

“For the moment the FIA has homologated the 2020 tires so this is the product for next year, unless after the test and each team has given feedback to the FIA there is a decision taken by at least 70% of the teams to stay on the 2019 tire. In that case next year’s tires will be the 2019 ones.

“We have no concerns because the 2019 product is very good — we had an exciting season with a lot of action and good racing so I’m not worried about staying on the 2019. In that case, what is important for Pirelli is to understand why we had a different result during our tire development tests compared to the final test. That is important to improve our process and our systems for the future.”

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