The decision to continue with Formula 1’s 2019 spec tires is likely to mean less unpredictability in races in 2020, according to Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola.
The FIA announced on Tuesday that the Formula 1 teams had unanimously voted to use the 2019 tires next season rather than adopt the new constructions developed by Pirelli. Speaking before the decision was announced, Isola admitted there could still be an impact on the racing by keeping the 2019 tires, as car performance advances and the teams have more knowledge than usual going into a new season.
“Just the pressure will be adjusted compared to the new performance of the cars,” Isola said. “So we see every year we have an increase of performance that we can estimate at 1-1.5s/lap as an average; that means that you put more energy on the tires so we need to put more pressure on the tires. That is the way in which we work.
“It is possible that we have a bit more overheating, obviously with a higher pressure, or a bit more degradation. I think in that case it is possible that we have a bit more pace management during the race, but nothing else. The other point is teams know the tires very well so they have lots of data, so probably we have a bit less unpredictability.”
Isola believes the fact that tires are not something the teams can control the development of made a decision to retain the known quantity more likely.
“For me the problem is — or this could be the problem — you have cars that are very very sophisticated so if you make any small change the impact on the car is huge. The new profile of the rear tire, the difference is probably less than 4mm, something like that, and they feel the difference, so you can understand from that how sophisticated the cars are.
“Or, when you change the weight of the tire by a few hundred grams they immediately feel it, and we are talking about a car of 730kg, so any change on these cars is something they feel in a big way, and they have to learn how to extract the best performance from the tires.
“If we talk about the cars, they have full control of what they do, because they develop the cars, they develop the engines — they develop everything. There is a third party, Pirelli, that is developing the tires, so they are not in the full control of that process. This is the big difference between cars and tires.”