Formula 1 made a mistake by asking its official tyre supplier to produce high-degradation rubber, according to chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
Pirelli returned to Formula 1 in 2011 and was briefed to provide tyres which needed to be replaced more than once per race, in order to add strategic interest. However Symonds believes this approach has proved a failure.
“I think we were asking completely the wrong things of Pirelli over the last few years,” he said. “The high degradation target is not the way to go.”
A switch to 18-inch wheels has already been agreed for 2021 as part of a package of changes to reduce costs and create better racing. However Symonds said the sport faces “a very complex problem” in deciding how the rubber should behave.
“It’s something where we don’t have a clear idea on yet,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of simulation. There are many things you can do.
“We do believe pit stops are important in Formula 1. We know our fans enjoy these two-second, sub-two-second pit stops. So we do want to have that level of pit stops. You might say the easy thing to do is to have a Le Mans-type tyre that will go on and on and on. But then we’ll lose the pit stops.”
F1 has enlisted some teams to run simulations to test possible solutions in order to inform their decision for 2021. Pirelli intends to begin tests of its prototype 18-inch rubber in September.
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