Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Yas Marina

F1 teams unanimously vote against using Pirelli’s new tyres for 2020

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 will continue using its 2019-specification tyres next year after team unanimously voted against introducing Pirelli’s new rubber in 2020.

Pirelli conducted a series of tests of its 2020 development tyres during the course of the season with several different teams, culminating in a three-team test at the Circuit de Catalunya in October.

However drivers expressed doubts over the new constructions after testing the during the first practice session for the United States Grand Prix in November. They were given another chance to evaluate the new compounds, alongside the 2019 rubber, at Yas Marina last week.

That failed to ease concerns over the 2020 tyres. Following the test Romain Grosjean said the new tyres were not a clear improvement over the ones used this year.

The FIA confirmed the outcome of the vote today. “After having tested and analysed new specification tyres for 2020, a vote for the specification of the tyres for the 2020 season was carried out according to Article 12.6.1 of the technical regulations,” the sport’s governing body announced in a statement. “The vote resulted in a unanimous decision to keep the 2019 specification tyres for the 2020 season by the Formula 1 teams.

“The FIA would like to thank both Pirelli and all the teams for their work and collaboration to improve the tyres for the 2020 season and beyond. In any case, the lessons learnt will be invaluable for the further improvement of the tyres in the future.”

Pirelli said in a statement it, the FIA and the teams had taken three points into account in their deliberations. “The teams will no longer have to modify the designs of their 2020 cars, which wouldotherwise have been necessary to accommodate the different profile of the 2020 tyre construction.” it noted.

“This will now allow the teams to continue the development of their 2020 cars – which are already at an advanced stage – uninterrupted. [And] the use of the 2019 tyres also guarantees the teams stability, with the advantage of using a well-known product during the final season of the current regulations.”

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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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62 comments on “F1 teams unanimously vote against using Pirelli’s new tyres for 2020”

  1. This can only be a good think imho. The teams ALL have a season’s worth of first hand data, should close up the field considerably.

    Plus stable regs, 2020 may be the best season in years and overshadow the 2021 shakeup even.

    Also this is kind of a huge black mark on Pirelli.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “known” quantity was the deciding factor. Teams can now evolve 2020 cars with plenty of tire data and no surprises and develop for 2021. Seems a smart move.

    2. Why would it be a black mark on Pirelli? They presented new tyres which teams dont want to use. Presenting options is not a bad thing.

      1. Because they were tasked to develop a new product with the aim of improving durability and working range and have very clearly and publicly not achieved those aims.

        With no degradation target to use an an excuse anymore they really don’t have anywhere to hide here.

        1. Nothing is ever public and clear in F1…teams, drivers and organisation are always playing political games.

          Teams just preferred staying with the “evil they know”, rather then a new tire car balance lotery for 2020.

          1. It paints Pirelli in an extremely negative light, just go and have a look at 90% of the comments on Twitter relating to this story right now. And before you say that’s not relevant of course it is, Pirelli are in F1 as a marketing exercise to increase brand awareness and boost consumer product sales.

            Nothing is ever public and clear in F1…teams, drivers and organisation are always playing political games.

            Behind the scenes yes, but all anyone sees of this particularly story is that TEAMS REJECT PIRELLI

    3. RB13 I don’t disagree with what you have said regarding the stability in the tires making for a closer field next season, theoretically, as it still depends on what each team brings to the table car and Pu wise…but I take your point.

      But as to next season overshadowing 2021? I don’t expect that, as let’s not forget we still have the integrity robbing drs in 2020, hopefully not in 2021 though, and they will still be on tires next year that will limit the drivers from pushing as much as we would like them to be able. They’ll still be having to hang back for fear of ruining tires. The tires will still have finicky operating windows that they’ll have to sort out given that they’ll be on new 2020 cars. As I say, I agree with you continuity point, but unfortunately it is still with cars way too dependent on clean air and needing a terrible gadget to make for assisted passes. So no, for me I still expect 2021 to far overshadow this current gen of cars/tires, including next year’s.

      1. @robbie I hope so too but the moneyed teams with endless budgets will undoubtedly have a head start in ‘21 with record spending to develop the first iteration of new cars before the cost cap comes in.

        In the long term the ‘21 regulations will be a success I feel but with some of the quality of racing this year I also think 2020 could be a vintage year and with the field closed up it has every chance of providing a real spectacle of its own. No one knows, we shall see…

    4. What? Not a new crazy variable to spread the field and cement the advantage to the best funded teams?

      This is not the F1 I know..

  2. I’d have thought Haas would have voted for the new tyres (despite Grosjean’s comments).

    Haas seemed to have the worst handle on the tyres this season, apparently still no clear way forward on managing their tyres. Therefore, any change in the status quo might have been an opportunity, either for them to improve, or bring a competitor down to their level.

    1. On the other hand they have a shed load of data and can start with that instead of 4 days worth of fairly unrepresentative testing. It’s honestly a better situation even for Haas.

      1. But with new tires they start on equal footing as the other teams, who also have only 4 days of data. With the old tires, they already know they suffer more than the other teams. Unless they think they’ve found a solution already and just couldn’t implement it on the 2019 car.

    2. these votes are VERY political, haas being a ferrari customer will probably be extremely influenced by ferrari “suggestion”

      1. @allyita – yep, that explanation makes sense.

        1. Also, perhaps Ferrari will have figured out the 2019 tyres by 2020 testing and will pass the info onto Dallara and then to Haas.

  3. Likely be some new positions opening up at Pirelli engineering departments…

    1. This makes Pirelli look stupid AF.

      Their whole F1 adventure has been an unmitigated, extremely expensive disaster.

      1. I give Pirelli a lot of credit for the things that they produced, but as you say, they must certainly be worse off.

        Other tire manufacturers didn’t seem to want the job. Allegedly, Pirelli was the only one who would produce a 13in tire.

        We don’t know what other manufacturers would have produced. And chemistry isn’t magic; there is a limit to material science. Hard to make a marketing campaign out of that, though.

        1. Not really. The FIA’s daft tender required a new maker to produce a 13″ for 1 year and then an 18″ after that. Hard to design a tender better to put rivals off.

    2. For the 1st. time I sympathise with Pirelli, clearly the tyre/car relationship is critical and difficult to master, how then can any sensible person expect a new tyre with different design parameters to impress when 1st fitted to unchanged cars that have been designed and tuned over several years specifically for the old tyres ?
      A case of too little too late, but at least it seems the entire F1 circus has now admitted the error of introducing high-degradation tyres, an error that was so obvious that even blind Freddie would have been aware of it within the 1st few races (so long ago) of the season in which it was introduced. F1 is finally rid of Bernie so should be able to admit and correct errors much quicker than in the past, the future of F1 depends on it.

  4. That’s the spirit!

    Now we need to ditch Pirelli altogether!

    But this is still a good start – and a quite public announcement that Pirelli continues to produce crappy tyres, even after all these years of trying.

    Hope they (Pirelli) decide to quit F1 themselves.

  5. Its hard to get F1 teams to unanimously agree on anything.

    For them to do this, they must have REALLY REALLY hated it.

    1. Its hard to get F1 teams to unanimously agree on anything

      Pirelli did the impossible here….. What a PR disaster.

  6. I wonder at what cost this was. Generally, I think the peak performance of a tyre would suffer if you want to make them more “racing-friendly”. Was this the issue for the teams, in that the peak performance was worse? In that case, these new tyres might have been a downgrade for drivers, but might have been an upgrade for racing. I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case, because it would be disappointing to think that we could have had tyres with a wider operating window that allows drivers to follow another car for longer without having to back off. If, however, there was something fundamentally wrong with the tyres and there was no evidence of better tyre performance when following, then I absolutely agree with this decision. But in that case, you really have to condemn Pirelli for their incompetence.

    1. In that case, these new tyres might have been a downgrade for drivers, but might have been an upgrade for racing.

      Do you genuinely think drivers would compromise on the one thing without fail each and every one of them has been moaning incessantly about for years and years (the inability to race hard) for the sake of a tenth or two in qually?

      No. More likely they are roughly the same as this year but the teams can go into next season with a known quantity and thus design the cars to suit the data they already know and push harder in qually AND the race.

  7. This sends a clear message from the teams to the FIA: find us a better tyre supplier.

    1. @shimks – now I’m waiting for the FIA press release that Pirelli’s contract has been extended. ;)

    2. @shimks I suspect that it had little to do with the tyres and more to do with the impact they would have on 2020 designs. Would you want to have to make changes to a car due in 3 months with little idea of what new tyre aero and handling implications are? Or would you rather have a tyre that you new a significant amout about? I know which way I would vote, regardless of if the tyre was an improvement or not.

  8. Pirelli are asked to design a range of tyres with ‘built-in obsolescence,’ which is pretty absurd to start with, blaming them for tyres that degrade at unexpected rates seems a bit much. Obviously that’s a constantly shifting parameter, depending on circuits, weather and car design. Virtually impossible for them to mao with any accuracy for an entire season. The big question was surely the dreaded ‘optimal tyre temperature window,’ which needs to be as broad as possible to ensure as many teams as possible can adapt and compete effectively. Having teams unable to be competitive because they’re missing that window does nothing for the racing or F1 in general.

    1. @david-br Pirelli haven’t had a mandate from F1/FIA asking them to design tires to act a certain way since the end of 2016. The 2017/18/19 & planned 2020 tires were Pirelli designing the best they could based purely off there own targets with the only input from F1/FIA been the sporting/technical regulations such as tire dimensions, Number of compounds they produced & how many sets they were allowed to bring to each race.

      The only targets Pirelli have now are the one’s they have set for themselves which incidentally are targets they have consistently failed to hit.

      And even when they were been asked to produce tires aimed at producing 2-3 stop races they were never been told how to achieve that or how to make the tires. The way Pirelli went about creating higher degredation tires was 100% down to Pirelli, They went for the thermal degradation model because it was the easiest & cheapest way of generating high levels of deg. It wasn’t the only option & wasn’t even the best option, But they still went with it & stuck with it despite the many downsides that approach has.

      1. Thanks @gt-racer, what other degradation models are possible?

        1. @david-br I’m no expert but I believe the answer to your question is tread wear degradation. Tires that are much less sensitive to temperature, but that lose performance either gradually or fairly suddenly, depending on the chemistry of the rubber, through wearing down of the tread.

  9. well known != pirelli tires

  10. What was the difference in the 2019 and 2020 “profiles”? Does that mean shape in cross section or was just the compound different?

    1. The shoulder was different in profile and affected the airflow differently.

    2. Construction to bear more downforce without a high tyre pressure. Theortically it would be good for curb riding and better temperature stability but the teams rather stick to what they know than having an extra task to get on top of leading up to the 2021 regulations.

  11. I’m not sure this is the correct way to propose a new design for tyres. The teams had to agree with 2 months until the febrary tests if the new design was good enough based on what? a couple of days of unrepresentative testing?

    I don’t know… for something which is as key to performace as tyres no less. Why would teams vote in favour of such an unknown when they have 1 year of experience with the current compound?

    I rather have Pirelli bring a tyre and say “this is it, like it or not” very early in the season, giving the teams chances to improve on it, than waste a whole year to decide against it at the very last moment.

  12. “Pirelli said…”
    Whatever they said plus they don’t have a clue. If Pirelli didn’t have a monopoly on spec tires in F1, no one would be running them.

    1. Bit ingenious to say Pirelli have a monopoly. That is by design. FIA opened up bids from tire manufacturers in 2018 to be the sole supplier of tires to F1.

      Only Pirelli and Hankook put in bids to supply tires to the specification laid out by the FIA. Pirelli was the successful bidder and thus becomes the sole supplier. Thus monopoly by order.

      Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola; “admitted that it was a much more complex process this time around because of the extra requirements in the tender, especially in terms of the degradation requirements.”


      FIA sets the specification that the tires have to meet. Therein lies the problem, not with Pirelli but the FIA specification.

      1. Don’t forget that the winner of the contract would have to supply tyres for 2020 in the 13″ spec, and then switch to 18″ from 2021 onwards. That in itself disadvantaged any newcomers who’d lose their sunk cost on 13″ pretty much immediately, and favoured the status quo.

  13. People who see this as a repudiation of Pirelli are missing the point. If you give engineers the choice between a tire they have a year’s worth of data on, and an unknown quantity, they will always choose the former. The problem here is that the interests of Pirelli and the interests of the teams are fundamentally misaligned: Pirelli want a tire which creates unpredictability and spices up the racing, the teams want a 100% predictable tire which degrades as little as possible. Consequently this was only ever going to end one way.

  14. I don’t see why this decision was left up to the teams? The FIA and Pirelli should have just said here is your new tire! Deal with it.
    I can see how many argue that this decision can only be a good thing since there is consistency and I agree with them, but to me it makes me question who is governing? The F1/FIA or the Teams?

  15. Oh, somewhere in Clermont-Ferrand, the sun is shining bright;
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    But there is no joy in Bicocca — mighty Pirelli, has struck out.

    Will be interesting to see if Pirelli does a better job of delivering tyres for 2020 that are better than 2019.
    After all, they have had a year to study them.
    If they want to really pull one out of the fire, and show what they can really do, here’s the chance.

  16. I think the last two paragraphs summed up the reasoning behind the final decision well.

  17. Sadly, this is a loose – loose situation. Some of the teams used the opportunity to substitute a different driver from one of their regular drivers, which could have affected their results. There were teams, like Haas, which struggled with understanding the 2019 spec tyre, which could mean they didn’t appreciate the improvements in the tyre.
    Pirelli has spent a lot of money designing and building this new tyre, so the cost of that has to be included in the price of whichever tyre the teams went for, meaning cost wasn’t (or shouldn’t have been) the reason for wanting the older tyre.

    1. Peter Waters (@)
      11th December 2019, 12:44

      The cost of Pirelli designing the new tyre does not come into it. It is the cost of the teams having to re-design their cars at such a late stage of the design process that is the problem.
      Pirelli should have introduced the design of the new tyres much earlier in the season so the teams could incorporate the new profile into their car design.
      The tyre manufacturer knows, that you cannot introduce something like this so late into the process and expect the teams to be happy with it.

  18. This actually isn’t good news for 2021.

    Pirelli had said that the 2020 compounds were developed with the change to the 18” tyres in 2021 in mind and they wanted to get a full year’s data to aid that development for 2021.

    Now they’re not being used, it rather puts them behind. That in turn could be the first of many things that don’t quite go to plan for 2021.

    Good news is that it might well make 2020’s season even closer than ever, but not necessarily so good for 2021.

    1. @dbradock: Good point.

      However, 2021 tyres are low on my arm chair F1 priority list. Will there a 10 team grid be confirmed? If less than 8 teams me and F1 will have bigger worries. Mainly F1 tho. ;-)

      1. @jimmi-cynic Oh yeah definitely all those possibilities and more whichnis why I said “first of many”

        IF (and it’s a big if) they actually do get their desired aim of cars following closely, there’s going to be a huge dependence on tyres that actually work so that battles can continue. Sure the loss of aero won’t be as bad so they “shouldn’t” overheat but if they’re just plain crappy it’s not going to help.

        1. @dbradock: Good point and not the first of many.

          With the radical change in suspension design, may take a full season to discover how crappy the tyres really are. Assuming we get through your other ‘many’ things… ;-)

    2. @dbradock I’d be surprised if much of the 2020 tires were about the 2021 18” tires, as those will need to be night and day different I would think. But anyway even if you are right and there was actually going to be something useful to be gleaned from 2020 tires towards the 2021 ones, it sounds like the 2020 tires were not going to be that much different than the current ones, so, what real R&D is being lost wrt 2021 tires? I hope they get away from thermal deg completely and go to tread wear deg.

  19. How much longer do we have to deal with these terrible tires from this subpar supplier?

    It’s unbefitting for the pinnacle of the sport to have to deal with the worst tires in the sport. It is a complete joke that pirelli every year fail to hit targets they set themselves and continue to makes tires i do not think anyone in f1 is that fond of. If we had a tire war situation in f1 i doubt anyone would pick the pirelli’s given how bad they are.

    Is there any championship where they have competition that the pirelli tires are actually considered better than the competition?

    What a total joke f1 has become, this would never have been stood for in years past so i don’t see why it is today, just shows how far this once great SPORT has fallen i guess.

  20. I just don’t get all the harsh viewpoints on Pirelli. It’s almost like we need to bash them without reason.

    First of all, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Pirelli’s tyres this season. All the teams adapted fairly well to the tyres (except for Haas… Who aren’t even a serious racing outfit anyway). It gave us some good races where tyre strategy was key, and there weren’t any degrading gimmicks or anything of the sort. Tyres overheat when following another car closely, we can’t really help that as it’s always been the case in modern F1.

    Secondly, I don’t think a constantly moving marker for tyre development really helps Pirelli. Teams can’t agree on exactly what they want from a tyre, so how do you expect Pirelli to get a unified direction that pleases everybody?

    Thirdly, and most importantly, nowhere in the article does it mention that teams rejected them because they were not good enough. IMHO, development of the 2021 cars are going to be am expensive affair. Teams would want to reduce their cost of developing the 2020 car to a set of new tyres. They would rather it just be an evolutionary season, as compared to a revolutionary season in both 2020 and 2021. This seems more like a sensible decision taken by all the teams in unanimity rather than a unified attack on Pirelli’s 2020 tyres.

    1. @todfod Have to disagree with you on a few points. To say there was absolutely nothing wrong with the tires this season is to ignore the overwhelming feeling in the garages that these types of tires suck and are not at all well liked. They are tolerated, but there is absolutely much wrong with them that could be better. It has not always been the case that tires overheat while trailing a car, to the ridiculously detrimental degree that they have been in these recent seasons.

      Secondly, I think teams can indeed agree on what they would prefer in a tire. They certainly can agree on what they don’t like as well.

      Thirdly, if you read Grosjean’s remarks from Dec 3 you will see that indeed they are not good enough, as in, not different enough and therefore still terrible. Sure I agree some of their thinking might be for the continuity argument, and it might be sensible from that standpoint as the tires are not improved anyway, but I think this is also a unified attack on Pirelli’s 2020 tires by default.

      1. @robbie

        I guess we have to disagree.

        To say there was absolutely nothing wrong with the tires this season is to ignore the overwhelming feeling in the garages that these types of tires suck and are not at all well liked.

        I didn’t sense that “overwhelming” feeling. Looked like the teams that couldn’t adapt were moaning.. pretty much like very season in this sport.

        Secondly, I think teams can indeed agree on what they would prefer in a tire. They certainly can agree on what they don’t like as well.

        2013 season would disagree.

        Thirdly, if you read Grosjean’s remarks from Dec 3 you will see that indeed they are not good enough, as in, not different enough and therefore still terrible. Sure I agree some of their thinking might be for the continuity argument, and it might be sensible from that standpoint as the tires are not improved anyway, but I think this is also a unified attack on Pirelli’s 2020 tires by default.

        Since when do we take the word a driver who who has a reputation of complaining, who also drives for a team that has a history in moaning when it fails to adapt to tyres, have anything to do with the general consensus? If I heard those words from Lewis, Max, Vettel, etc. it would have some more weightage to it.

        1. @todfod It’s not the word of one driver…the teams have unanimously agreed.

          1. @robbie

            Can you share the link?

          2. @todfod Share the link? It’s what this article is about. It’s right in the heading.

          3. @robbie

            The article headline says they unanimously voted against. We’re not debating that are we?? We’re debating why.

            It’s not the word of one driver…the teams have unanimously agreed.

            Also, I couldn’t find any this anywhere in the article. Please share some other source.

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