Brawn says F1 teams should have stuck with Pirelli’s 2020 tyres

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has defended the sport’s official tyre supplier Pirelli after teams unanimously agreed not to use the new range of compounds it had developed for next year.

Teams decided this week to continue using the previous generation of tyres for the 2020 F1 season. But Brawn said it’s “very easy to be critical” of the job Pirelli has done for the sport.

“If you take a helicopter view of what we’ve had, I think the tyres have not been a detrimental factor to the racing this year,” he told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “I think there’s been some good racing.

“We know the cars are very difficult. And I think Pirelli take a lot of stick for issues that actually are caused by the nature of the cars. When we get more benign cars that can follow each other properly, this sort of overheating and ‘I can only push for one lap’ and all that sort of stuff will definitely be reduced.

“They did a good job in a one-manufacturer series because when you win, ‘who else can win?’, but when there’s a problem, you’re in the spotlight. I think it’s a bit unfair to be too critical of them because I think they’ve actually done a pretty good job.

“The tyres are reliable. Nobody ever says ‘oh, I’ve got a bad set of Pirellis this time, the other side was much better’. The consistency of the tyres is remarkably good. Most of the one-make series I’m aware of, they’re always moaning about one set of tyres are better than another set of tyres. We never hear that in Formula 1. So I wouldn’t criticise Pirelli.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Brawn believes Pirelli’s 2020 tyres did offer an improvement and meet the goals which were set for them, but teams rejected them because changes to the shape of the tyres created an aerodynamic problem.

Ross Brawn, Interlagos, 2019
Brawn: “I would have preferred to have persevered”
“The unfortunate thing was the objective for 2020 was [to have] more ability for drivers to lean on the tyres to help them an these racing situations. It wasn’t to be quicker. It could have been slower: there was nothing to say they couldn’t be a bit slower than what we have now.

“But they needed to be more of what the drivers were asking for, which was a tyre they could lean on more and they drive a bit harder without losing performance. And there’s certainly signs that they achieved that.

“But what also seemed to be the case is the way they changed the construction to achieve that was having a bit of an impact on some teams’ aerodynamics. Therefore, because the sidewall and the distortion of the tyre was different then it was upsetting some of the cars.

“I don’t think a number of teams wanted to have to address that because it was a bit of an unintended consequence of the change of construction. I would have preferred to have persevered and stuck with the 2020 tyres and solved the issues because I think they did achieve the objectives. But it’s a team decision and that’s where it’s gone.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 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.

29 comments on “Brawn says F1 teams should have stuck with Pirelli’s 2020 tyres”

  1. Brawn said it’s “very easy to be critical” of the job Pirelli has done for F1.

    Because they’ve been a bit rubbish.

    “The tyres are reliable. Nobody ever says ‘oh, I’ve got a bad set of Pirellis this time, the other side was much better’.

    That’s because they’re all rubbish.

    Sorry, although not helped by current regulations, Pirelli have outdone themselves in making bad tyres, year after year.

    1. @stopitrawr But they’ve been asked to do so more or less since the beginning.

      1. @jerejj
        As for the wet weather tyres, who ask Pirelli to make them so rubbish ?

    2. They haven’t made bad tires since the first ones they made, and the racing has suffered because of it.
      Drivers whining is music to my years.
      Borefests is what we get now, and it’s all because of the tires being so good.

      1. I take for granite you meant ears.

    3. @stopitrawr I actually think the tires were pretty good last year. Drivers could push reasonably hard on those tires as there wasn’t as much tire saving as we had in 2018, and compared to 2017 racing was much better. Pirelli did a fairly good job to produce a reasonably rapidly degrading tire without too many negatives.

  2. better for the teams to focus on 2021 than to learn new tyres and have one more aerodynamic variable in the mix for 2020 car. big teams would have advantage again in overcoming it. this year was not so bad, if Haas and Williams could join in it could be great 2020 :)

  3. I wasn’t even aware that the teams actually had the ability to reject the 2020 tyres. I thought it was a case of “here’s your tyres” at the beginning of testing and that was that.

    Is this something new? If not, have there been attempts previously to retain the previous year’s tyres, other than a couple of occasions where they have been asked/forced to change because of safety/graining concerns?

    1. @dbradock I could be wrong on this but I think teams only got a vote on the tyres this time because of how critical both teams & drivers had been during the tyre testing.

      I think the views of teams/drivers after the tests opened up the question of if they were the right way to go or not so they opted to have a vote.

  4. GtisBetter (@)
    11th December 2019, 8:56

    Don’t give them the choice then.

  5. Well there were some good tires before Pirelli.

    Bridgestones were good, Michellins even better… things were good. Full race on softs, no overtaking, all kinds of boredom.

    But I wish we would see tires that last entire race in 2020. And then make 2 pitstops mandatory. Make tires as excellent as possible, fast, grippy durable. Then let teams handle it however they want.

    1. @judeo, you are highly mistaken

      Go watch the 2005 Japanese grand prize. Kimi starts 17th, passes alot including Fisi on the last lap for the win ONE 1 SET OF TIRES. And while doing so he set a race fast lap on his 43rd lap that stoop until 2017 or 2018.

      The reason there is no overtaking is because the cars are already lined up in speed order. It is stupid to give the faster cars such ap large head start and expect exciting racing.

      F1 doesn’t need tire changes or refueling, it needs MORE ON TRACK ACTION. And better more durable, less overheating tires for that.

  6. The issue is not really the tyres produced by Pirelli.
    It’s that FIA, FOG, F1 Teams/Drivers have different vies on what they want.

    In order to achieve the changes this (every) year, set by FIA, the teams late in the design process have to re-evaluate and change the car. In addition to subtle changes to suspension, the tyre dimensions changed for 2020 to significantly change (almost complete) aero.

    Maybe sometimes its better to stick to what you know and understand. It may not be perfect, but its better than the unknown every year.

    1. Agree – this came far too late in the day to be finalised (unless t was all a smokescreen).
      The teams will be very far advanced in the manufacture of the 2020 cars, with the chassis / tubs probably already produced and final designs of suspension and aero already well locked down. Therefore, I am not surprised they didn’t want to then have to go and redesign and manufacture everything again

      If this data and understanding was confirmed earlier in the season (rather than the end of season test), then it would have given the teams more time to fit the 2020 designs around the known characteristics of the 2020 tires

  7. They should stop changing things period. Changing things creates bigger gaps between the team. The longer everything stays constant, the better the racing gets. If they stuck with the 2014 tyres and rules till this season, the teams would have closed up and the racing would be fantastic. They change for the sake of change. Mark my words, in 2021 we might have cars that can follow each other, but the teams will be further apart then in 2020. Some get it right, some don’t, happens after every rule change.

    1. Yes @marcel I agree and it’s the smaller teams that in general suffer. You can bet your house that all of the teams are spending a fortune (relativity) on their 2021 cars*. So as usual the big teams will hit the first race with an advantage simply because they have the resources and the cash for the R&D.
      Two possible exceptions Merc who may be planning an exit strategy via McLaran and Renault who I think are practically building a new car for next season, I mean why not as the current car is crap. But also their is a chance they will not be around for 2021 for financial reasons. Also the new boss is not a fan of F1, I think next yr will be a make or break yr for them.

    2. When things are good you rarely need to fix things. When things are bad a fix is necessary. 2019 tires were disliked by pretty much everybody so a fix and a change was required. Only it seems the cure was worse than the illness in this case.

  8. Ross says teams didn’t like the aero effect but doesn’t say anything about the drivers who were also critical of them.

    Most of the one-make series I’m aware of, they’re always moaning about one set of tyres are better than another set of tyres. We never hear that in Formula 1.

    I disagree with that.

    I can think of a few occasions where a driver has complained about one set of tyres feeling/acting different to another of the same compound. Charles Leclerc in Mexico for instance said that his 2nd set of Mediums felt completely different to the 1st set which was something his pace at the time showed.

    And i’m not been critical of Pirelli with that as your always going to get these differences at times & it’s the same elsewhere. I just don’t think it’s right to suggest the Pirelli’s in F1 are fantastic & that tyres used elsewhere aren’t as good.

  9. I thought the reason the new tires were not accepted was because the drivers did not really feel any difference so switching to slightly different shape and different kind of construction was just unnecessary risk. Even if the 2020 tires were better it was just to tiny margin that would it have even made any difference? Known evil is better than unknown evil.

  10. No, Mr.Brawn, their tyres are crap. Total crap.

    Hopefully next contract goes to other company. If F1 is not dead by then.

    And if Pirelli doesn’t quit by themselves, when they realiz that they can’t really produce tyres and switch to making rubber boots instead (which of course will be too hot, and dissolve from water)

  11. It is interesting (revealing ..?) that Haas also voted to keep the tires, the version that they couldn’t master in 2019.
    Ball is clearly in Pirelli’s court.

    1. This isn’t actually Pirelli’s problem: they offered what they can claim were tyres that would have been easier to master than the 2019 tyres, but the teams rejected them. Some teams also used the opportunity to use someone other than one of their regular drivers, which seems to me they’d already decided they didn’t like the 2020 tyres. I just don’t see this as any old “driving around the track” routine. Anyway, the decisions been made, so that’s that for next season.

    2. I’ve seen it suggested that Ferrari and Mercedes pressure influenced the smaller teams.

  12. Even if the teams didn’t like this year’s tires, they know them and most likely understand them, so why go to something new? Better the not so good tire you know than the potentially good tire you don’t, especially if you’re a smaller team.

  13. Victor (@victorandrei1999)
    11th December 2019, 21:03

    Don’t get me wrong, these tyres may not be perfect, but let’s not forget that since 2011 when pirelli has came in F1, the cars got over 100 kilos heavier, and there were changes of regulations every couple of years, so pirelli had to adapt to this changes. Furthermore, I think that Pirelli isn’t at fault for the low number of overtakes. These cars are heavy, long and wide so there is almost imposible to have the same overtakes at Monaco as 10-15 years ago.

    1. 100 Kg heavier, more fuel load permitted, significantly more downforce and more power since 2011.
      Gets more challenging with every increment.

    2. @victorandrei1999
      A large chunk of the increase of mass of the cars is because the pirelli tires are 3x heavier(and significantly wider) than the 2010 Bridgestone tires which were much better.

      Pirelli make garbage alone are the biggest problem in F1.

  14. With another change coming in 2021 why would teams want the lottery of learning a whole new tyre for just next year rather than sticking with the one they know?

    I’m not surprised they don’t want the new tyre

Comments are closed.