Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Interlagos, 2018

Brazil won’t be another extreme tyre degradation race – Pirelli

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli says drivers won’t have to go to extremes to protect their tyres as they have in some races this year.

At the last race in Mexico several drivers complained about how carefully they had to drive to protect their tyres including Charles Leclerc, whose strategy was particularly extreme.

While Pirelli brought its softest available rubber to Mexico, its harder tyre range this weekend should reduce the amount of tyre saving drivers have to do according to sporting director Mario Isola.

“Degradation is something that we need to check,” he said after Friday practice. “We know that everyone will try to plan a strategy on one-stop with a required level of management.

“Here we are slightly more conservative compared to the last few races so there is probably giving the possibility to the drivers to push a little bit more. They shouldn’t have any issue with the fuel. That means that there is obviously the possibility to have a race pace that is a bit better compared to some of the last weekends.”

Mexico was one of several races this year where drivers had to reduce their pace significantly to make the optimum strategy work. Isola says he doesn’t want this to happen but believes it isn’t only due to tyre performance.

“If you look at Monaco, for example, if you look at Sochi, every time we went [to] a lot softer compared to last year we can see that the level of management was a lot higher.

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Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018
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“I prefer to avoid this kind of situation because drivers shouldn’t just manage the pace so much. They are Formula 1 drivers, they have to push, they have to drive a car that is the fastest in the world. That’s the spirit of racing, it’s not managing.

“I fully understand that they are not just managing the tyres, it’s the package. But it’s in the DNA of any car racing, you have brakes and you have fuel, a lot of other stuff that you have to manage. But on our side we have to do our job in order to reduce the tyre management and at the moment it’s quite important.”

Drivers met with Pirelli yesterday to explain their concerns following the Mexican race. Isola said he is keen to continue discussions with them about their future tyre choices.

“I’m just happy to have meetings with them, to have exchange of opinions with them. The truth is it’s not really easy to do that because they are busy, it’s difficult to have them around the table.

“The drivers’ briefing is a good opportunity because they are there, obviously they are not obliged to stay down after the drivers’ briefing but usually when they are they all stay and they all participate and they give their opinion. They have different opinions. It’s clear that each driver has his own opinion but it’s good to listen to all this.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 6 comments on “Brazil won’t be another extreme tyre degradation race – Pirelli”

    1. “extreme tyre degradation”. That’s funny. Back in the day some races were 3 stops and now a race where some teams did a 2 stop and even some drivers a 1 stop is “extreme”. Such a shame in my opnion, because races with multiple stops are often more interesting to watch.

      1. Is pirelli blame the track for extreme tyre degradation? More like their tyre were made to worn out faster.

      2. @jesperfey13

        because races with multiple stops are often more interesting to watch.

        i actually think the opposite because i want to see the cars on the track with all of the racing and overtaking done on the track.

        i always hated teh refueling because it took the racing off the track and shifted it to the pit stops and i feel the tyres are now doing the same, putting too much focus and attention to the off track stuff with overtaking via the over/under-cut which is something i have never found all that interesting.

        i prefered it back when you could run a race non stop as it put all of the focus on the racetrack and also put the incentive into trying to pass on the track as you didn’t have an over or undercut back then and races were far better as a result.

        races where tyres are a big factor with 2-3 stops and a lot of deg are often uninteresting as you don’t get any good fighting. it’s all done via the under-cut and at times the performance difference between different compounds or tyres of different wear doesn’t allow fighting as cars on older tyres or harder compounds often have nothing to fight with which makes for boring slam dunk easy passes that are bas bad as the drs.

        i want to see competitive racing where defending is possible so that we get good drawn out fights over many laps which are always far better to watch than an easy tyre/drs generated highway pass.

      3. @jesperfey13 True, the multiple-stop races in 2011/2012 were quite entertaining. I think tire wear levels are nowadays similar to the tire wear levels in the early Pirelli era, but nowadays there is much more tire management. Apparently it is better to lose 3 seconds per lap to minimize tire degradation than to push hard and make multiple stops, which is rather weird of course. Normally 1-stop races are incredibly boring, but it seems this isn’t true in case of relatively high tire degradation. Differences in tire management create tremendous potential for overtaking, as witnessed in the last few races. Anyway, pit-lane overtaking has never been much of a problem in the Pirelli era. The real problem was a lack of on-track battles as DRS gave the attacker too much of an advantage.

    2. At the last race in Brazil

      @keithcollantine – I think you meant Mexico :)

      1. @phylyp I was about to post the same until I saw that you had already done so.

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