F1 teams rejected new tyres to reduce car development – Isola

2020 F1 season

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The Formula 1 teams voted against introducing new tyres for the 2020 season to avoid the need to redevelop their cars for this season, according to Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola.

The 2020 compounds were tested on several occasions last season. But following their final test at Yas Marina following the season finale, teams decided to continue using the 2019 rubber instead.

Isola said he was “not disappointed” by their decision. He believes it was made because the different shape of the 2020 tyres would have forced teams to make changes to their car designs for the upcoming season.

“Before taking the decision we had a lot of discussion with the teams,” he told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “Obviously that decision came quite late, considering that we had the additional development and then the final validation in Abu Dhabi.

“It is clear the new product has a different profile and this affects the aerodynamics of the car. And with cars that are almost – I would say 95% – finalised, the teams are not very happy to modify the car again or to put additional resources on developing the 2020 car.

“We have to consider that it is a very particular period in which the teams, especially last year, have been involved in three different projects. Because they were racing with the 2019 car, they were developing the 2020 car and they were already working on the 2021 car regulations. Even if they didn’t make any physical part of the 2021 car, some people were involved in analysis and simulations and so on to finalise the 2021 regulations.

“So it’s a very busy period for us as well for the teams. And the final decision was mainly due to the fact that keeping the same tyres that we had last year is not a modification, it’s not an additional element to consider for the teams in 2020. They know the tyre, the learning curve that we have every year when we introduce a new tyre is not there for this year so they can focus on 2021 and developing the 2020 car without having these additional elements that is a variable in their development. So it’s understandable from a side that they decided to keep the old tyre.”

However Isola pointed out that the minimum tyre pressures will have to rise this year as increased downforce levels are likely to put the tyres under greater strain.

“They are aware of the fact that due to the increase in performance for the 2020 car, we probably need to raise a little bit the pressure this year. Because obviously with increased performance the only leverage that we have is to increase the starting pressure.”

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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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20 comments on “F1 teams rejected new tyres to reduce car development – Isola”

  1. The teams couldn’t face yet another season of Pirelli tyres that don’t work properly. Most of us feel much the same.

    1. C’mon there was nothing wrong with the tyres f1 used in 2019. The only reason anyone even thinks the tyres were bad because Ferrari and redbull build cars that weren’t good enough. And instead of taking responsibility for their own mistakes they blamed pirelli. Isnt it funny how redbull & Ferrari weren’t blaming the tyres at the end of the season? When redbull brought upgrades to their car and could compete with Mercedes they had no problems with their tyres. For the last 5 years redbull have started the season with a car nowhere near good enough but got away with it cos they could blame Renault. They didnt have Renault to blame this year so blamed pirelli. And when Ferrari introduced their magic upgrades in Singapore & used it’s dodgy engine they also had no problems with the tyres.

      1. Adam No you’re wrong. Nobody likes these tires. They just have it put up with them, but they don’t like them.

  2. I simply don’t understand the constant need to come up with new tyres. Bad tyres are only bad if they are fitted to a car that is not in harmony with it. I they keep the same tyres for a few years, all the teams will have devoloped cars that will work with those tyres. If they change the tyres every year, than every year some teams come up with cars that don’t work with them. Probably the teams with the least budget.

    So by constantly developing new tyres, they don’t solve last years problem, they created yet a new one for this year.

    1. Totally agree, took the words right out of my mouth

  3. Choice:
    1. Get new crappy tyres, spend some crazy money to redevelop cars and find out that tyres are working even worse than last season.
    2. Stay on crappy tyres and spare several million €

    The decision is obvious.

    1. Sorry but there was nothing wrong with the 2019 tyres. Redbull started the season and their car wasnt good enough. Normally they would just blame Renault but with no Renault to be the fall guy blamed pirelli. Ferrari build a car to be fast in a straight line and slow in the corners. Instead of taking responsibility for doing a bad job they took the redbull approach and found a fall guy and blamed pirelli. You’ll notice when redbull brought all its upgrades and could win races they stopped blaming/talking about tyres. And when Ferrari could cheat with its engines they also had no problems with tyres.

      1. Adam I disagree.

      2. Sorry but you are wrong.
        There is no team or driver praising Pirelli, instead telling all the time how poor the tyres are.

        Yes, in 2019 they were not as crappy as in previous years, but this doesn’t suddenly make them even remotely “nice”. The are still crappy. Period.

      3. Christiaan Horner said in the begin that his team dropped the ball with a enginering direction so the tyres didn’t came into the right window. He didn’t blame Pirelli but if you read between the lines he wasn’t not happy with the tyres.

  4. I would say Pirelli has a fundamental issue that they are trying to fix, otherwise there was no reason to do it the year before a big change in regulations.

    Teams spent a lot of money on mule cars for tyre testing and Pirelli also spent their share. All of that just to throw it in the bin?

    One can only hope Pirelli found out what they were looking for, so that wasn’t a total waste.

    1. No pirelli wasnt trying to fix anything. Redbull & Ferrari spend so much of the season blaming pirelli for their failures that f1 asked pirelli to bring new tyres for 2020. Before that pirelli had no plans to make any changes to the 2020 tyres.

  5. Teams spent a lot of money on mule cars for tyre testing and Pirelli also spent their share. All of that just to throw it in the bin?

    Not really, the teams built mule cars for testing the 18″ rims being introduced in 2021. Not for next years tyres. All of the tyre testing done for next year will have been using the 2019 cars.

  6. Not knowing that you can’t come out with a different profile tyre when cars are already developed simply can’t be incompetence as no one is that useless, but as we’ve seen, Pirelli’s loyalty is more with FOM in producing a good show (until it hurts their own reputation with too fragile tyre and they knee-jerk back to over-safe one-stop ones), so they thought they could throw a spanner in the works to produce more unpredictability (as likely requested by Carey), but this time the teams put their collective foot down.

  7. The most annoying thing for me about this whole thing is not the 2019 or 2020 tyres, it is that Pirreli are still able to mandate minimum tyre pressures.

    The one major tool that the teams had to be able to get the tyres working ‘in the operating window’ was by fine tuning them with the tyre pressure to suit the chassis. Now it is the other way around, or drivers having to drive a specific way to keep the tyres working.

    Just think how different a team like Haas season would have been if they were allowed to use tyre pressures to get their tyre working on race day.

    1. With higher minimum tire pressures (again) these tires gotta be like driving on rocks. I wish Pirelli would outsource their F1 tires to another manufacture who knows how to build proper race tires. After 10 years it seems Pirelli still hasn’t learnt to build proper race tires.

      1. Pirelli build tyres to the specs defined by FOM/FIAA and that’s it.
        The tire pressures are to avoid catastrophic events ( like Michelin in USA)
        So i know its quite normal here to bash Pirelli but they are very able to build good tires.
        But they are bound by tech specs defined not by themself.

    2. blockquote>…it is that Pirreli are still able to mandate minimum tyre pressures.
      @asanator The exact reason why we have minimum tyre pressures is a bit vague, but it goes something like this: At one time Pirelli didn’t stipulate a minimum tyre pressure (as you suggest), but then one day Sebastian got a puncture from repeatedly cutting the apex of corners (he was being chased by Romain Grosjean at the time … I’m not sure why Sebastian in a Ferrari was even worried about being overtaken by Romain in a Haas, but that’s a different story), and consequently didn’t get onto the podium that day (and Romain did!). So … you’d think Sebastian took the blame and said, yes, it was all his own fault, he should have stayed on the track and not risked damaging his tyres, but no! He said he didn’t get on the podium that day because Pirelli didn’t stipulate a minimum tyre pressure (okay, a slight bending of the truth here) … so now everyone has minimum tyre pressures.

      1. Thats not how I remember it. Lewis had a tire failure (one of several) so they imposed minimum tire pressures because the tires were crap and couldnt take the loading. They also impose minimum (max?) chamber angles too.

  8. Just as I thought. The teams did not reject the 2020 tyres because they were rubbish, but because they weren’t really interested in investing more in 2020 in understanding these tyres and making further car developments before they change the cars completely in 2021. @robbie

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