Andreas Seidl, Paul Ricard, 2019

Tyre row down to Mercedes doing “a significantly better job” than rivals

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says calls to bring back last year’s tyre specification only came about because Mercedes is beating its closest rivals so emphatically.

An attempt by teams to require Pirelli to revert to the 2018 rubber failed when a vote today failed to produce the necessary majority of seven teams in favour of the change. Five out of 10 teams opposed the return of last year’s tyres, including McLaren.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Seidl explained his reasons for opposing the change. “First of all I think in fairness also to Pirelli to mention we don’t have a tyre issue in general here,” he said. “The product we have this year is matching all the requirements we have set out last year as Formula 1, what we want to have.”

Seidl believes Red Bull and Ferrari called for the change in the hope it would help them compete with Mercedes, who have won every race this year.

“The reason why we have this discussion at the moment is that we have three top teams with the same resources and one team is doing a significantly better job than the other two. So that’s the situation we are facing.

“But it’s nothing really we can influence as McLaren. I think it’s down to the three top teams with FIA and Formula 1 to see if there’s anything that can be done short-term to fix that issue.”

Racing Point technical director Andrew Green said the team heeded the advice of Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“We listened to the argument and we especially listened to [Isola], they’re the experts in the area. And from what we could tell it wasn’t clear-cut at all that reverting to last year’s compound was going to be a positive change. It sounded like a significant risk to us.

“So from our perspective I think it’s too late for this season. The decision to focus on something to try to improve the tyres in the show for next season is the right thing to do and to try and to try not distract from the testing that’s going on post this event and post Silverstone as well is the right decision.”

However Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan said the change should have been attempted in the hope it would improve the show.

“It’s difficult,” he said, “it puts Pirelli in a slightly difficult position. They’re doing a decent job, they’re going to win every race, the tyres are surviving on the cars and there’s no doubt they’ve got to maintain their safety record.

“At the risk of being slightly controversial as regards Andy’s comments we would quite happily accept the 2018 tyres to come back. I don’t think the risk is as great as some perceive.

“But it is about creating a show and we almost have to step back and take a less teams-centric position and say: ‘Well, if it would be better for the show, could the teams cope with it?’ And our view is yes, we could. Except there’s been a majority vote not to do so, we have a slightly different view to the majority.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, 2019 F1 season articles, F1 newsTags , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 15 comments on “Tyre row down to Mercedes doing “a significantly better job” than rivals”

    1. Antonio (@frosty-jacks-racing-team)
      28th June 2019, 13:58

      Toto –> FIA
      Andreas –> Mercedes

      1. @frosty-jacks-racing-team, seems more than a bit of a stretch to try and link Seidl to Mercedes, given that he has no commercial links to Mercedes at all. He’s mainly worked for Mercedes’s rivals, in fact, being an ex-BMW employee (working for them from 2000 to 2009), before going on to work for Posche’s LMP1 division and now McLaren.

    2. we almost have to step back and take a less teams-centric position and say repeat teams position

      Not quite sure that less-teams-centric means what you think it does.

      1. Or alternatively, ‘we’!=’you/the others’

    3. God I am so tired of these team politics. F1 has enough problems as it is without allowing success-hungry teams to try and twist and manipulate the direction of the sport to their own liking.

      Seidl’s comments are obviously bang on. Perhaps if the roles were reversed and Mercedes were struggling, they might try the same move, but the constant, tiresome whining of Red Bull and Ferrari is starting to get quite irritating. Red Bull claiming that the tyre change would help the show is laughable; when both they and Ferrari were boring us to death during their respective periods of dominance, I don’t think the show was such a big concern for them.

      Honestly, the political nature of the sport is such that it would be almost appropriate to have teams like Conservatives GP or Democrats F1 taking part. It’s almost getting as boring as the races themselves.

      1. Who was struggling most with the tyres last year? So who do you think was behind the switch to the thinner thread tyres we are using this year?

        I’ll tell you: it was Mercedes! So in a way they (again) manipulated the rules into their advantage and got what they lobbied for. And now we as spectators/fans are stuck with a championship where Mercedes is yet again dominant. Boring and therefore bad for the sport.

        1. Mercedes won most races last year, on 2018 spec rubber, without issues. When there were issues, they were experienced by most other teams.

          Stop being so myopic because your team isn’t winning.

        2. This comment is a great example of why I have increasingly stayed away from ‘below the line’ at Race Fans in 2019. As a subscriber, I am very pleased for Keith and the team that the site is increasingly popular and the additions to the team have really lifted the value and compelling content in 2019.

          Unfortunately it has pulled in the usual partisan keyboard warriors with cheap opinions from elsewhere!

    4. How many teams are running the Mercedes engine again? They are guaranteed to vote with Mercedes. Blind even. Then we see the Renault teams doing better this part of the season so they don’t want change.. that leaves the Honda teams and Ferrari. Not a real surprise that there is yet again no majority in favour of improving the racing. Joined interests are apparently much more important than the spectators/fans.

      1. 3 teams, same as ferrari….

      2. Wow, did you ever get that backwards. The five teams who voted for the new tyres are all Ferrari and Red Bull affiliated teams!

        On the other hand, what does Renault and/or McLaren have to do with Mercedes?

    5. Smart words from a smart man. I like what I’ve seen of Seidl at McLaren so far. Hopefully he can rejuvenate the team somewhat.

      1. @hugh11 I agree. He’s perhaps the best thing that has happened to Mclaren over the last few years. TBH, I wasn’t too aware of him before he joined the team even though he’s worked in F1 before.

      2. Absolutely! Quite exciting so far, let’s see where it goes.

    6. Despicable attempt from Red Bull.

      Embarrassing that they even need something like this to cover up for the utter mess they made of their car design for this season.

      On the other hand I would have loved to see this change happend and see that afterwards they would be even further behind. Like when after a whole season of politicizing and propaganda they got the regs changed to improve aero dependency and they were even further behind than before.

    Comments are closed.