Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Pirelli says it’s unlikely to race special Zandvoort tyres

2020 F1 season

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Pirelli expects it will not need to use the special F1 tyres it produced for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, which drivers tested last week.

The prototype tyres, which features a revised, stiffer front construction, are designed to cope with the increased stresses from the two steeply banked corners which have been constructed at the track. Each team was given two sets of the tyres to test at the Circuit de Catalunya last week.

“We wanted to use the opportunity of the Barcelona test to have the data available,” said Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola. “Then when we received the final simulation, we take the decision.

“But at the moment. I cannot say we are going to use the prototype. I think that we are going to use the normal tyre. But at least that we had the test and we are happy with the results of the test. Both the baseline with the higher pressure and the prototype. So we have both ways open.”

Pirelli has already announced it will use its three hardest tyre compounds at the race. F1’s official tyre supplier will gather more data from the renovations at the recently completed Zandvoort circuit before deciding whether to produce them in the standard or prototype construction.

“Our engineers will go with our laser to measure the Tarmac roughness,” said Isola. “That is an important parameter to consider for the decision. It’s one of the parameters that we take into consideration when we select the compounds, for example.

[smr2020test]”In that case we already selected the compounds, we are not going to change the compounds. But the Tarmac roughness is defining also the level of grip so it’s important that we know that before taking the decision about the prototype or not.”

“The plan is to do everything possible to understand in advance which is the additional load on the tyres and so to react properly,” he added. “Once we the feedback and more accuracy simulations from the teams we can test the tyres with our indoor rig to understand which is the level of prescriptions that we need to impose to the teams.”

Charles Leclerc tested the Zandvoort prototype tyre on Wednesday last week. Asked whether it felt different to the usual tyres he said: “No, it felt very, very similar. I won’t go into much more detail than that.”

Hugenholtzbocht, Zandvoort, 2020
Zandvoort has built steep banking at two of its corners

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11 comments on “Pirelli says it’s unlikely to race special Zandvoort tyres”

  1. More tests, more they feel the same, more nothing is changing. Surely they can see that this type of cycle is not good for their image/brand…

    1. Pirelli is making fools of themselves imho.

      They make new tyres every year and every year the drivers and teams call them ‘bad’ or worse. There have been several crisis-meetings during the past almost decade which made Pirelli look really bad, and this year the new tyres for 2020 were so bad teams refused to use them, instead opting to stick with the 2019 tyres unanimously. So now these ‘special’ tyres for Zandvoort are discarded as well?

      At some point, Pirelli’s efforts to spin the narrative become pathetic and overall the ‘bad publicity is good publicity’ effect isn’t ‘good’ anymore…

    2. guys, I think you are completely misunderstanding what Pirelli is doing there @millionus, @jeffreyj.

      First of all, the last times F1 raced on a fast banked corner0 one supplier faced a huge problem (the other had pre warning and was able to prepare their tyres). Pirelli has only computer data from the track so far, since it is being finished.
      Then, we went into the season with teams making another step forward with downforce, and the tyre supplier needs to prepare compounds and tyres ahead of time without having the information about downforce levels
      Pirelli is already being critisized for tyres that are prone to punctures etc in the last few years

      With all that in mind, the logical thing to do, is to prepare a set of tyre-constructions that can be used in case the “worst case” scenario comes up: Very rough track, very large step in downforce, and suddenly come May, the weather plays nice and we get 20+ temperatures in Zandvoort.

      These tests gave Pirelli answers with regards to the downforce levels on the cars. And so far it looks like these tyres won’t be needed. But Pirelli does have them available, and the teams have already tested them now. So in case a circumstance arises, and they DO need them, they can have them available. This is the prudent way to go about things – remember, safety is the most important factor here.
      It could also be that the heavier cars next year might also need them.

      1. @bascb you make a compelling case. If this is indeed the case then perhaps better marketing is their down fall. I agree the “any publicity is good publicity” seems to be gone

  2. Why did Haas run a race simulation on the zandvoort tyre? Weird stuff happened in testing, mostly Ocon, like driving exclusively off line every corner, run an whole afternoon and not go quicker than 1:23. ham and bot lapping with the das on for several laps seemed odd. Rb and alphacentauri having the exact same problem at the exact same time twice.

    1. What are you trying to say? What’s the conspiracy?

  3. Interesting that they’ll be running the three hardest compounds. I can see some teams/drivers struggling for grip in the low speed corners, as there are effectively six rather slow speed sections on the track.

    1. I think it is a poor choice, the 3 hardest compounds and the weather could be very cold and the track being new should not be abrasive. I think they should rake the 3 middle compounds, but this is pirelli that is choosing and they are consistently incompetent.

      1. @megatron It is because of the two banked corners and the loads on the tires that has them erring on the side of safety, both for the drivers, and for their already worn reputation. They are no doubt harkening back to the US GP fiasco, and just imagine what people would think and say about them if their tires failed at Zandvoort? The criticism level is already quite high towards Pirelli as you (et al) have just shown. As the sole supplier, if suddenly on the Friday it was discovered that their tires couldn’t handle the track, we wouldn’t even have a farcical truncated race with only cars running the other makers tires. They’d all just be going home and we’d be changing the channel in disgust, and the race promoter would likely sue. Although I think it is a key thing to remember that Michelin got caught out because they didn’t have an opportunity to test their tires on a car on that track. Not that Bridgestone did either, and their tires worked there, but the point being Pirelli has had an opportunity to gather data for this specific concern that Michelin didn’t, so there should be no issues for Pirelli. But as I say I can fully understand them going with the harder of the compounds.

        1. @robbie
          You are confusing the compound(type of rubber) and the construction. Pirelli brought a stiffer sidewall construction tire, designed for zandvoort, to test at Barcelona and are now saying that they won’t bring that stiffer sidewall construction to zandvoort. That has nothing to do with the compound of rubber. They are now bringing hard rubber to a very green track that will probably be too cold, so expect alot of graining, which is not as big a safety problem as blistering, but it doesn’t make for good racing (especially at a track that isn’t expected to give good racing anyway). The banking has little to no effect on choosing the compound.

          Furthermore, the problem with the 2005 usgp was not really the banking, the problem was the diamond grinding cut into the track months before the race. Michelin had competed at Indy in 2001, 2, 3 and 4.

          Bringing a harder compound is not a safety consideration. Pirelli’s garbage tires fail regardless of which compound they run because their construction is complete garbage. It can be just as unsafe to bring too hard a tire compound as it is to bring too soft a compound. Pirelli, as usual, are making a stupid mistake.

  4. Popping balloons Fest!

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