Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Teams say tyres are limiting how much they can test

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams say the number of tyres they are allocated for testing is limiting the amount of running they can do.

Teams have 110 sets of tyres to use in testing. However this allocation covers not just the eight days of pre-season testing, but in-seasons tests as well.

With the V6 hybrid turbo regulations now in their sixth years, power units have become so reliable teams are capable of coverage huge mileages in little time. Mercedes is averaging more than two race distances per day.

“I think now that the cars are getting pretty reliable and can cover big mileage you find that by the end of the afternoon you’re running out of tyre sets,” Renault technical director Nick Chester confirmed when asked by RaceFans.

“So some tyres we’re sort of recycling and trying to get as much out of as we can but you get to a point where you’re pretty much out of tyres by the end of the day.”

Increasing the number of sets available for pre-season testing is a possibility according to Chester.

“It’s not something we’ve discussed with Pirelli yet but we could have more sets. For next year if we brought more sets [to] winter testing that would allow us to do a little bit more. We’ll do a little bit more representative running.”

Even Williams, which has covered the fewest laps of any team as it did not run its new car for the first time until the third day of testing, is being constrained in its approach by the number of tyres available.

[smr0901]”Within the team one of the biggest points of debate every night and even within the day – and we don’t always agree on it – is what should we do,” explained to chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.

“How shall we spend run time. How shall we spend our tyres. And there’s never, by a factor of two or three, there’s never enough time or tyres to do everything that everybody wants to do.

“We need to cover reliability, we need to cover measurement particularly to improve on our understanding in our development tools back at base. We need to do experiments in the configuration of the car, the fundamental aspects of aerodynamics particularly. And then we need to do set-up and we need to do driver preparation for racing.

“It’s very difficult, it’s impossible actually, to cover all of those things in the time available.”

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2019 F1 season

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5 comments on “Teams say tyres are limiting how much they can test”

  1. Surely Pirelli can quickly supply an extra set or two for the in season tests.

  2. Is this the reason why Mercs havent bothered using softest rubber and been doing long run on harder rubber so far.

    1. That could be a reason. In addition, I believe because they don’t quite understand the tires and because their cars tend to eat through them, they wanted to be conservative until they got more data, rather than wasting tires they couldn’t work properly. Also, we shouldn’t forget teams are complaining about graining. That could have also contributed to the conservative approach.

      Teams such as Ferrari who came out the gate with a well behaved car, might have been more confident to use their softer compounds. I could see now, why Mercedes appeared so focused on gathering mileage on harder compounds during testing.

      1. @gufdamm @chaitanya – I think what you say, koddamn, may be part of it. But also, this is what Mercedes does. For at least the duration of the hybrid era (2014-now) they have come out in winter testing, put on the middle tire (soft, C3), and run more miles than anyone. Whether it is fear of eating tires, fear of showing their hand, or just reducing the number of variables in order to have more easily comparable runs (either run vs run, or run vs dyno/simulator data), it is what they do.

        Given their history of doing this, I would expect them to be much closer than they keep saying they are—or ahead—come Australia. Their softest tire run (C5) today seems to bear at least some of that out.

  3. Well Mercedes don’t seem to have as much of an issue so to me this reads as though Renault are struggling with tyre wear possibly due to being unable to dial in their setup as quick. Quotes from Renault and Williams aren’t really representative of the whole paddock…

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