Tyre, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Pirelli: Going back to 2018 tyres could be bad for safety and racing

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

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Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola explained why he did not support moves by some teams to bring back the 2018 tyre specification.

The sport’s official tyre supplier met with the teams and representatives of FIA and FOM today. However a vote of the 10 teams failed to produce the necessary majority of seven in favour of going back to last year’s rubber.

Some teams called for this year’s rubber to be dropped in the hope it would reduce the advantage of Mercedes, who have won all eight races so far this year. However Isola said dropping the thinner-tread 2019 rubber in favour of the thicker tyres, which were used at all bar three races last year, could have jeopardised safety and made the racing worse.

“In Barcelona pre-season tests last year, with the new Tarmac, we had a lot of blisters,” he explained. “A big extension on the tread, pieces of the tread missing and the construction exposed.

“In that case it is a safety concern. That’s why we send our request to the FIA to modify the specification for three races and the request was approved by the FIA. So it was not just a request from Pirelli but the FIA analysed their request and said ‘yes, you are right, the evidence that you provided [is] good so you are authorised to do that’.”

Isola pointed out that some minor blistering was encountered during last week’s race at Paul Ricard, a problem which could have been much worse with last year’s tyres.

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“In Paul Ricard that the lap time during the race but in quali was a lot faster than the previous year,” said Isola. “So that means that the level of energy that you put into the tyre is higher than last year, so the tyres are working well. In Paul Ricard after the race we recorded 23 blisters, but very small.

“The blisters that we had in Paul Ricard but is not dangerous but it is telling us that the current cars are very fast and they are putting a lot of energy,” he added.

“So if we go back to last year’s tyres we have more blisters, we have more overheating, we have drivers that cannot attack and cannot push. So the show could be even worse. That was my consideration.”

Isola remarked it was “very strange” some teams should push to revert to the 2018 tyres at the Austrian Grand Prix, where 12 months ago some teams experienced blistering on the 2018-specification tyres.

“Last year the main complaints were blistering. In Austria we had blistering. But in the second half of the season, with the improvement of the cars, it became even worse than here.”

“We can discuss if this change [would] change the balance of performance across the teams or not,” he added. “I have an opinion on that. But technical facts are what I told you: Increased overheating, increase of blisters.”

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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...
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  • 17 comments on “Pirelli: Going back to 2018 tyres could be bad for safety and racing”

    1. Special made for Merdcedes…

      1. Psst, hey… your stupidity is showing.

        1. No there is something to that

          Last year merc ran best on the thinner tyres, this year all tyres are to thin spec

          Pirelli secret tyre test 2013?

          Merc dominant this year whilst every other team struggles with tyre management…

          Its just good business

    2. Hemingway (@)
      28th June 2019, 21:40

      Pirelli have their own agenda. Full of empty meaningless words. Hot air. Not worth listening to.

      If the drivers aren’t brave enough to race a car with tyres from 2018 then that’s their own weakness. Bravery needs to become one of the components of success in the sport again.

      They should be forced to revert to 2018 spec if at least 7 of the teams agree. The teams are intelligent enough to look after themselves without MI piping up to the public.

      I’d be happy to see Michelin or Bridgestone return with real tyres.

    3. I don’t like to see mid-season tire changes, but why would it be bad for safety and racing? Last year’s tires actually produced quite a few good races, unlike this year’s tires.

      1. Because as Mario Isola said, the 2018 suffered from blistering and overheating, even more so in the second part of the season when the cars became faster and started putting even more energy through the tires. To combat these issues where the tires couldn’t handle it, they had to introduce thinner tires for 3 events.
        The cars are now even faster than at the end of last year, so the cars have outgrown the abilities of the tyres. They were designed for slower cars than we have this year.

        1. Except that Ferrari and Red Bull were fine at this race last year for example, only Mercedes were struggling. Oh and FP1/2 times are slower here than last year. Damn pesky facts……

          1. Except that they weren’t! Remember when Ricciardo tried to overtake Raikkonen? Do you also remember what happened to Ricciardo’s tyres?

            I’l give you a hint, they were ruined and Raikkonen simply drove past him after that.

            Damn pesky facts……

        2. It is always a challenge to get the tire temperatures right. Too low temperatures and the tires won’t work (and they may grain), too high temperatures and they will blister. Blistering of tires is just a part of the game. I never thought it was dangerous.

    4. To combat these issues where the tires couldn’t handle it, they had to introduce thinner tires for 3 events.

      Or they could make.an extra pitstop for tyres like Pirelli and.the FIA want ie more than one pitstop.

    5. So the FIA should mandate that for safety reasons then,yeah that sounds like a great reason for both the FIA and Pirelli to oppose going for the 2018 Tyres.

      1. @asanator

        Huh, either my phone or the site screwed up the threading

    6. Go back to Goodyear and the best years of F1 racing… not always safe but it made me a fan.

    7. Phuk this site! Too PC to bother with! And your the press and your the ones that run this Phucked up mess whether you know it or not!

      1. Wow – interesting outburst with absolutely no context – care to elaborate @alex-bkk

        1. You are correct Sir… It was bad day at the office and a pint too many.

    8. No worries @alex-bkk – been there done that myself!

    Comments are closed.