Decision to use 2019 tyres means more degradation and higher pressures – Pirelli

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams accept that their decision to use last year’s tyres instead of the new rubber developed for 2020 will bring some limitations, according to Pirelli.

The sport’s official tyre supplier says it will have to raise tyre pressures to ensure last year’s rubber works with the faster 2020 cars, and that tyre degradation is likely to be higher.

The teams opted not to use Pirelli’s new rubber for the 2020 F1 season after testing the tyres at the end of last year. Pirelli’s head of Formula 1 and car racing Mario Isola said they understood the compromises the decision would involve.

“The 2020 tyres have been designed to have less overheating or less degradation considering the increase in performance of the cars,” he explained.

“Teams are aware of the fact that choosing 2019 [tyres] for another year means that we are obliged to increase the pressure and therefore they will they will find more overheating in 2020 compared to 2019 and also more degradation. They know that, they accepted that. This is my expectation.”

Pirelli has some scope to limit the increase in tyre pressures and manage the degradation, said Isola.

“Obviously, we can also work around the compound selection. If we want, in some cases, to reduce the overheating, we can, for example, nominate a harder selection.

“But considering that if I look back at the last year, we had many races where the selection was the right one – that means that all the three compounds have been used and we had different strategies – I’m not anticipating that we are going to change a lot of races. So most of them will be with the same compound selection or very similar.”

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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...

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  • 22 comments on “Decision to use 2019 tyres means more degradation and higher pressures – Pirelli”

    1. Well, perhaps going for the 2020-spec tyres would’ve been the right choice after all, but we shall wait and see.

      1. I believed the teams should have gone with the 2020 tyres when this first cropped up, but it seems they all preferred the 2019 tyres (designed in 2018) because they had gotten to know how they behave. I did find it odd that Haas, who seemed to be continually having problems with getting their tyres to work should vote for the tyre they couldn’t understand, but apparently they preferred seemingly enigmatic tyres to unknown but potentially better ones. Anyway, now, when a team or driver complains about the tyres Pirelli can say something like, “You chose to use these tyres, we designed better tyres for this season, but you didn’t want them”.

          1. Quote from LH from about a week ago…”They brought 2020 tires which were worse.”

    2. More degradation is not necessarily a bad thing, is it? If there is more degradation it could mean even more of managing-the-tire-races like Singapore last year where Leclerc was driving so slowly in front to manage his tyres. On the other hand, more degradation could also lead to more variety in tyre strategies, less predictability and maybe more entertaining races. It could also just mean I am too optimistic about the upcoming season starting next weekend. :-)))

      1. Given the new quarantine restrictions put in place by Italian govt. we are in a quite a few non championship races or cancellation in next couple of months.

      2. @aegges66 i’ve never found the races with high degredation to be all that fun because everyone is either driving around so slowly that it’s dull to watch, less challenging for the drivers & therefore makes mistakes less likely or it starts to feel random with tyres been too big a talking point, passing becoming far too easy due to big performance deltas and most of the ‘action’ taking place in the pits.

        i just always prefer it when the racing is done on track with less pit stops and where the overtaking feels genuine & competitive rather than cars just breezing by with DRS or because of a massive performance difference with the tyres.

        i’m more a purist so anything that starts to feel artificial & gimmicky just turns me off. hence why since 2011 i’ve fell off f1 having been an avid fan since the early 1970’s, used to watch every race in full but no longer :(

        1. The problem is that a pit stop is worth too much dead time. So rather than go hell for leather and do a 2-3 stop they go at Formula E pace just to make it a one stop.

    3. I was at Austin when they were testing the 2020 tyres there. The sidewalls bulged significantly more than the 2019 tyres almost as if the tyres were underinflated. I can definitely see the teams’ issue with impact on the aerodynamics and doubly so since the drivers reported little or no improvement in use.

    4. Another year of F1 without racing then

    5. I wonder if there is a NDA of some sort between the FIA and Pirelli?

    6. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, Jon Bee :)
      The teams didn’t want to muse the proposed 2020 tires as their sidewalls produced a lot more movement, which would have increased their cost a lot as they wouldn’t just have had to produce a whole new floor. They would have had to redesign pretty much all the aerodynamics of their 2020 cars too if so.
      Todays tire pressures are “astronomical” compared to the days when Bridgestone and Michelin were delivering tires to the teams. Yes, the cars are heavier, but the pressures demanded by Pirelli are “astronomical” even so.

      The simple fact is that Pirelli has shown that they are not capable of producing good and safe tires for Formula 1, but until we get a “Tire-war”, or another tire manufacturer get´s (buy´s?) the right to deliver tires to the teams, this “Never ending story” with bad tires and high tire pressures will unfortunately continue.
      Pirelli simply hasn’t got the skills to make good F1 tires. And if/when another tire manufacturer (Michelin has shown interest), starts to deliver tires to the teams who want´s them, we´ll have a “Tire-war”, and Pirelli would be gone from F1 within a year or two.
      I usually don´t like tire-wars as they tend to make the Races even more predictable if so, but it would mean that the cars would become 3-4s faster per lap within a year if so. But I know, it´s a pipe-dream until Liberty or FIA reacts.

      1. @jccase there have been problems with tyre wars when the tyre manufacturers tended to become biased towards a particular team.

        A former member of Tyrrell revealed that Goodyear outright told him that they were biased in favour of the top four teams – even in years where Goodyear was the sole supplier in F1 – whilst Michelin and Bridgestone were also accused of favouritism and tending to be biased towards the top teams. It’s rather notable that it’s tended to be the bigger teams that have been in favour of a tyre war – the ones who historically were favoured in such a contest – whilst the smaller teams have made it clear they don’t want to go back to a situation where they will be discriminated against.

        Furthermore, in a time when the sport is supposed to be moving towards a budget cap, introducing a tyre war would seem counterproductive given that tyre wars have tended to cause cost inflation.

        1. @jccase @anon I think the last real issues with more than one tire maker occurred in the highly skewed MS/Ferrari era when Bridgestone even had a headquarters at Ferrari’s private track, and there was unlimited money and testing. Bridgestone’s main focus for their tires was to build them for MS and his car alone. That then forced the hand of Michelin to also have to back one or two top teams in order to compete. The other teams got good tires, just not ‘designer’ tires.

          I am all for tire competitions in F1. I refuse to call it a tire war because we don’t call any other aspect of competition in F1 a war, be it between teams, drivers, power units, engineers, pit stop crews etc etc. I think that given the current atmosphere of cost cutting, but particularly of vastly reduced on-track testing, there is absolutely no reason to suspect a tire competition going forward would be anywhere near like it was the last time around under BE. Conditions are just way different, and as well FIA/F1/Liberty/the teams could always have discussions and negotiations about such a thing and take lessons from the past and do a better job of managing two tire makers. After all, it’s supposed to be a competition, not a monopoly. What’s better about a monopoly when the only option is bad tires? At least with a competition between a couple of makers, they’re there to keep each other honest and on top of their game, not unlike the competition between teammates.

          1. @robbie The thing people tend to overlook when talking about Bridgestone giving more focus to Ferrari is the reasons why.

            It wasn’t a simple case of Bridgestone deciding it wanted to favor Ferrari, It was a more that by 2002 Ferrari was the only top team left on Bridgestone’s & therefore the only team that Bridgestone were able to do most of the testing with.
            It was similar with Michelin. They didn’t so much set out to be more favorable for the top teams, It was more that the top teams could afford to do the testing so naturally had a better understanding of the tires with Michelin using there data to better develop the tires which sort of then shifted them towards better suiting those teams.

            It was the same even when Good Year & later Birdgestone became the sole supplier. The top teams could test, The smaller one’s couldn’t & been able to do as many test miles as they could back then just naturally shifted things more in the favor of those doing the miles.

            The test ban has prevented that sort of thing happening since 2009 which in one way may be a positive but has also created many of the problems Pirelli have suffered as they haven’t been able to properly develop the tires & it’s therefore moved more towards which team has the best tire simulation tools which tends to be the top few teams. And with how the Pirelli’s have ended up been it’s also hurt the smaller teams who can’t put the same loads into the tires the top teams can which is why you often see the mid/back of grid teams having more issues with operating windows than the top few.

            1. @gt-racer Great stuff. Thank you.

    7. The teams didn’t want to use..

    8. Why wouldn’t they.
      They already have data on the 2019 tires.
      They would have to learn the 2020 tires as they go.
      None of the data they would have gleaned from 2020 tires would carry over to 2021.

    9. We should be thankful the 2020 tyre was dropped, as boring 1-stop races would likely have been the order of the day. Even the 2019 tyre gave us a lot of those, but hopefully the new downforce levels will help this, unless Pirelli changes the race selection.

      The endless Pirelli bashing is unfair, and we should in reality be thankful to them for be willing to deliberately produce a fast degrading tyre in order to help with the spectacle. Michelin point blank refused to even consider F1 supply when this was a requirement.

      I can see how the casual F1 spectator would say Pirelli tyre is bad when one needs to change after 15 laps, but am surprised a lot of F1 fans are ignorant to the basic fact that the tyre supplier is simply producing a product that was ordered of them and that most of the top 10 cars start the race with a softer qualifying tyre, but then again, a lot of F1 fans are just driver fans who will handily bypass inconvenient facts just to fit the narrative, or simply ignorant to the workings of the sport.

      1. Other manufacturers refused to make poor tyres. Is that really a bad thing? Would Brembo be happy to supply brake pads that only lasted half a race? We don’t see that much actual racing because the cars cannot be used to the full for more than a few laps in every race. Would you watch a 400 metre race where the runners had to walk the final 300 metres for the “show”? The concept of cheese tyres is a joke built on a nonsense race in Canada. It’s time to revert to proper end to end racing.

        Sadly, too few of the spectators don’t know what real racing is – all they know is lift & coast, tyre saving and mind the marbles.

    10. Is the W11 faster compared to the W10, than the W10 was compared to the FW42?

    11. Pirelli is really the worst.
      Everyone hates Mercedes, but really – the single worst thing in F1 right now (apart of financial distribution) is Pirelli.

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