Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

‘We need more grip and better safety’: Hamilton puts fresh pressure on Pirelli to improve F1 tyres

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has renewed his call for Pirelli to improves its Formula 1 tyres, saying races are being spoiled because drivers have to carefully manage the stresses on their rubber.

The Mercedes driver said tyre management techniques were key to his emphatic, 24-second victory in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Hamilton moderated his pace early in the race while under pressure from Max Verstappen, then pulled clear of the Red Bull driver, but was still able to make his first pit stop later than planned.

“It was just in the management and the strategy that I chose in terms of when and where to push,” Hamilton explained. “How I was able to implement that was not necessarily what the team initially thought was what we needed to do. It was the execution that was just on point, I think, how I managed early on with Max behind me and then was able to do.

“Of course none of us expected the tyres to go as they did. But I protected them pretty well and I thought that I could at least easily reach my target stop lap, which was quite a bit earlier than where we when we went to.”

However Hamilton believes the amount of tyre management drivers are having to do does not make for good races.

“Right now, we’re [doing] a serious amount of management today. And I don’t think that’s what the fans want. That’s not what a racing driver wants, to have to manage behind a car, multiple seconds behind, because the tyres are not good enough. So we want to help Pirelli, to help them make a better tyre if they can.”

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier is using the same rubber which was raced in 2019 this year after teams unanimously rejected the prototype compounds it developed for 2020. Hamilton, who has criticised Pirelli’s tyres previously, has joined discussions over the ‘target letter’ F1 provides to Pirelli which details how the rubber should perform.

“We really need to put a lot of pressure on Pirelli for the future,” said Hamilton. “They didn’t, unfortunately, do a great job with the tyre at the end of last year to develop the 2020 tyre and so they had to carry over this tyre, the same tyre from 2019 into this season.

“In the past, when they make the target letter, the drivers were not a part of that discussion. That’s why last year I went to the Concorde meeting in Paris as part of representing the drivers. So we want to help them make sure that they set the target letter correctly. This has not being done right for a long time.

“They’re probably not going to be able to do it for next year but for 2022 we need a better tyre. We need a tyre that will give us more grip, better safety – a key matter there – and enables us to drive closer to cars and give you guys and the fans better racing.”

Hamilton, team mate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jnr all suffered tyre failures in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix two weeks ago. In response the FIA, which had already agreed one reduction in downforce for next season to ease the strain on tyres, has said further cuts will be made for 2021. Pirelli believes the tyres it developed for 2020 would have better withstood the force it experienced at Silverstone.

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103 comments on “‘We need more grip and better safety’: Hamilton puts fresh pressure on Pirelli to improve F1 tyres”

  1. Pirelli: makes 2020 tyres

    Teams: reject tyre and ask for 2019 tyres

    Pirelli: brings 2019

    Teams: shocked pikachu face

    1. Indeed @f199player.

      The argument that those tyres were slower is a non starter, since it would affect all teams evenly. And I can understand none of them wanted to go through the work to adapt their models to the slightly changed behaviour due to somewhat different construction for just a single year of these rules left (2 years now), but then we can hardly complain the tyres are not a good match for the cars anymore.

      And off course on another level Hamilton is wrong too. Instead of driving the car at a slow pace to manage those tyres, they could well have driven faster and made an extra pitstop. There is no NEED for tyre saving, it is a CHOICE the teams make because they feel it poses less risk of things going wrong (either in a stop or if they have to then overtake more cars), it is easier to predict and they know they can do it on a track like Barcelona where overtaking is not easy.

      1. In other words, Hamilton is right then. Most already stopped twice in Barcelona with tire saving.

      2. Correct.
        Drivers will always be ‘managing’ grip on any and every type of tyre.
        It just seems like this generation of racers are spoilt due to quali.

      3. @bascb the thing, though, is that the feedback from the tests which were undertaken on those 2020 prototype tyres indicated that Pirelli had largely failed their objectives.

        Pirelli did claim that the intention was that the 2020 tyres would have a reduced peak in grip, but that the overall grip levels were then meant to remain more consistent as the tyre wore down, rather than having a few laps at the beginning of the stint with high grip and then a rapid drop off in grip. They were also intended to have a wider operating temperature range, reducing the sudden change in grip if the tyres fell outside of that range.

        On both of those fronts, the feedback from the drivers and the teams indicated that the 2020 prototype tyres failed to meet those objectives.

        Grosjean complained that the performance characteristics of the 2020 tyres were so similar to the 2019 tyres that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, Sainz described the tyres as “very weird and very bad” and Vettel described them as a “disappointment” because, according to him, they were “no step forward” (i.e. no improvement) on the 2019 tyres.

        Binotto rather bluntly stated “We do not prefer the tyre because the [performance] targets have not been met”, amongst other criticism, whilst Horner was also rather critical and stated that the 2020 prototypes were not the positive development that the teams had expected.

        It doesn’t seem to be just that the teams were not keen on learning about a new tyre construction – it’s that, even if they did get to grips with the new tyre construction, the data they were collecting seemed to suggest that they were not going to deliver the performance that Pirelli had suggested they would.

    2. @f199player Pirelli makes 2020 tyres, they are even worse than the 2019 ones so they get rejected.

  2. Me me me, I I I, this self praise is getting boring now

    1. +1.

      The ‘Hamilton’ Comission, anyone? Sickening

      1. vThe ‘Hamilton’ Comission, anyone? Sickening

        Being ‘sickened’ by a foundation for racial equality is sickening. Get back to your hick swamp and see to your sister. @jeffreyj

        1. Hick swamp? Sister?
          Pretty offensive and derogatory comments, is it ok to stereotype southern white Americans as “Hicks” who live in swamps and reproduce with their sister’s?
          I don’t think that Jeffery was referring to the Commission as sickening, rather Hamilton’s ego in placing his own name in it, if the quotation marks are anything to go by.
          Anyway, have a good day!

          1. Exactly Jamal. Also, RB13, I am myself someone of colour. I don’t get offended quickly, but man, be less ignorant next time.

    2. Have you not heard of the term ‘ad hominem’? It’s fallacious. Argue the points he makes by all means – either agree or make a rebuttal …

      1. It is ad hominem indeed.
        Not disagreeing with his statements just bored of the ego.
        Apologies for any offence caused the Saint Lewis!

        1. No offence taken boy.

        2. No offence taken by me; but to attribute sainthood to someone who doesn’t claim it; it just takes you further down the rabbit hole

          1. Pretty much this too.

    3. Yes, how dare a driver described what he did in a race!!

      Who does he think he is, a six time world champion?

  3. I say we should just let Pirelli make any type of tyre they want – high deg/low speed, low deg/high speed, all weather whatever and make teams just race with them. Lets stop trying to make F1 interesting by artificial means or from top down intervention. Get rid of the two different compound rule and let teams race on a compound they feel quickest on.

    1. @ryandixon I wouldn’t be against axing the two different compound rule, and even less against removing the Q2 tyre rule, which hasn’t had a place in F1 for a while anymore. I’m more indifferent towards the former, but still not against getting rid of that either. Overall, I agree with your post.

      1. @jerejj Thank you for bringing up the Q2 rule. That’s another artificial addition to the sport to force unpredictability. I’d personally allow any teams to start on any tyres they want after qualifying but teams have to announce their starting compound 10/15 minutes before the race to aide broadcasting etc.

    2. @ryandixon Pirelli does have that freedom. When they re-signed their contract in 2016, they weren’t forced or told to make the tires degrade the way they do. For years they have been crap. Based on what the teams & driver say, we know the issues. Temperature window is too small (supposedly better than the crap we had in 2012), once they overheat, they have a hard time cooling down. If the compound is really hard, drives complain they can’t get any grip.

      If you read comments about Michelins tires in WEC, drivers have rave reviews for them. They can push, go fast & do it for quite a while. In F1, driver’s can’t even do a fulll quali lap without having the tires go off.

      1. When they re-signed their contract in 2016, they weren’t forced or told to make the tires degrade the way they do.

        That’s not correct, @s2g-uni.
        When FIA renewed the contract (I thought it was later) they issued a very detailed document on what they expected from the tyres; all kinds of % degredation and cliffy stuff.
        Maybe Pirelli could have been more vocal (like Michellin was), but it is FIA who determines what needs to be delivered.

        1. @s2g-unit @coldfly As Coldfly has stated they have a mandate that they need to meet. It would be nice if the FIA could just tender notice for any supplier to create tyres and leave it at that and not attempt to place these artificial rules to try and make the racing interesting. Just allow Pirelli, like the WEC Michellin, to create a solid race tyre and they could. The problem being is that they are not allowed.

  4. If the Soft tyre degradates to quickly, use the medium, if it still degradates too fast, use the hard. If still not happy, stop once more.
    F1 already went trough a phase where tyres where like concrete blocks, guess what, racing was dull, drivers kept the same pace from start to finish without issue. Remember Alonso Vs Petrov on Abu Dhabi 2010? That’s the last race before Pirelli entered in F1. A driver being able to run all the race with the same tyres and still able to block a much faster car with fresher tyres.
    Please, keep tyres degradating as much as possible. As a fan, I really don’t car if drivers have fun or not.

    1. Well the hard tyres seemed to not have any grip in the hot conditions so that wasn’t an actual option either

      Given q3 teams have to start on the q2 qualifying tyre, and that all drivers need to use at least two different compounds in a (dry) race, that leaves not a lot of room to completely avoid either the softs or the mediums.

      1. “The hards didn’t have any grip” is something in teams language. What they mean is something like:
        “The hards were 0.5s a lap slower”

        That’s what they are supposed to be like. More resistant but slower.

        Vettel did 40 laps on the softer which is also weird. For me somebody behind to use the softest tyre more than half of the race is a sign that tyres are degrading too slowly, not to fast.

    2. if it still degrades too fast, use the hard

      Did you read what drivers said when they tried the hard tyre? It wasn’t pretty.

  5. Maybe they need to change to construction of the tyres rather than the compounds. The Bridgestones of old were pretty durable even though they could be affected by track conditions juts as much (i.e Canada 2010).

  6. Hamilton needs to turn his ego down a few notches.
    I wish the media would just stop talking to him for a while.

    Hamilton, mate, if you’ve got all the answers, get out of the car and go get a job with the FIA, and then run for President/Prime Minister and start implementing them, so that we can all be as blessed as you are..

    1. So, he makes exactly the same complaints that so many others make, including yourself – but when it’s Hamilton making the complaints, suddenly it is ‘arrogance’?

      I bet that if it was Max making those complaints, you would be heaping praise on him…

      1. Nah mate.
        Not a Verstappen fan at all.

        And I’m lacking a lot of things that they have in their favour to enact change rather than just talking.
        Give me their money and their social power, and I’d sure be making a lot more of an effort to back up my public opinions.

        1. lol Hamilton not trying to enact change, that’s really rich.

        2. S, you seem to be doing a plentiful job of constantly giving others your public opinions…

        3. ‘Give me their money and power’. Says it all. You want everything to be handed to you on a plate, with the promise that then you will get off your backside to do something.

  7. Has had the best car on the grid for 7 years in a row and still complains.

    1. ALL the drivers have been complaining since Pirelli’s second year. Schumi said “it’s like driving on eggshells”. Their new contract doesn’t force them to make tires that degrade, nor did they have to degrade via heat & not tread wear.

      The drivers want to push & push hard, not drive at what, 60-70% of the cars performance, just to make the tire last 15-30+ laps. Drivers can’t even do a full lap in quali without the tires going in the last sector.

      1. Pirelli are asked to create tyres that degrade otherwise we’d have boring one stop races.

        Pirelli could create a tyre that lasts an entire race if they wanted to.

        1. @davidbondo
          Agreed. A tyre to last the whole race with very little degradation could easily be made. FIA don’t want that and set the specifications for Pirelli.

          Much as I hate to see the tyre management from lap1, long lasting tyres would mean minimal pitstops. Also once the overtaking of the first few laps would be complete, (for those out of position in qualifying or the with a bad start) the race would be a procession to the chequered flag.
          That is why the FIA like tyres to degrade.

    2. You’re making it sounds like he is the only one who complains about this.

  8. I’m not here to defend Pirelli, but merely to call out the hypocracy of this Pirelli bashing.
    Hamilton saved his PU throughout most of quali and the whole race (more conservative mode), even more so than he ‘managed’ his tyres. But because Mercedes is paying him he won’t be critical of the PU.

    But I guess it’s normal and accepted to openly criticise the one that’s not ‘family’ and is easy to pick on.
    I school we called that bullying.

    1. @coldfly
      The quality of his PU is not rubbish though, it delivers whenever he wants to. He is just saving it for the season. As for Pirelli, their tyres cannot last for a single qualy lap (in/out laps included).

      1. The quality of his PU is not rubbish though, it delivers whenever he wants to.

        I guess Leclerc disagrees with that. And even during the tyre disaster race in Silverstone it was a PU which caused the first retirement (DNS). @tifoso1989
        I know it is diffcult at best, and impossibele for most, but if you remain open minded you’ll realise that in most sports ‘management’ is happening. In F1 it happens with tyres, fuel, PU, and oftentimes electronics and suspension (stay off the curbs!)

        I don’t think that FIA/Pirelli have the right tyres at the moment.
        But it’s a bit shortsighted IMO to just bully Pirelli.

        1. @coldfly

          Hamilton would prefer to make the car go full out. He can’t because the tyres are crap. So the tyres are the limiting factor not the PU.

          The fact that he could still preserve the PU is actually one of the strengths of that PU. He’s not Actively managing that either. He just sets it to a mode.

          Leclerc is not using Mercedes engines so why would Hamilton be complaining about Leclerc’s PU (electrical issue though)

          Instead of trying to be a special snowflake all the time, why not just stay in reality for a change?

          1. You really don’t get it, @f1osaurus.
            On every straight, and now also in many turns (e.g. T3 Barcelona) the PU is the limiting factor. Also when accelerating out of corners the PU is the limiting factor (you can hear some drivers complain about that).
            Why do you think they go so much faster when using party mode? it is ‘managing’ the PU.
            The difference is that the driver should manage the tyres, whereas the engineers are managing the PU by mapping it and advising the driver which setting to use.

            We know that you are stubborn, and I don’t ask you to agree with me or others. But please try to read and understand before you reply to somebody’s comment.

          2. @coldfly You don’t get it. It’s an extra.

            Please just bugger off with your dumb nonsense.

    2. I guess you should also call out most of the other drivers by name then rather than just Hamilton, since they re also complaining about it.

      And really the Pireili tires have shown their lack of quality lately.

      1. I guess you should also call out most of the other drivers by name then rather than just Hamilton, since they re also complaining about it.

        Not sure why, @yaru. They are not quoted in this article, and I might upset the fans of those drivers then.
        But don’t worry! My opinion is not driver specific; merely calling out the inconsistency.

  9. People never seem to be able to make up their minds about what they want from the tyres.

  10. The easiest way to improve the tyre situation is to reduce the loads going through the tyre. This involves making the cars lighter and reduce downforce to reduce cornering speeds. However this doesn’t normally appeal to an F1 driver.

    I think it is a touch unfair to simply blame Pirelli for everything since factors have hardly worked out in their favour. They were told to make artificially degarding tyres to start with (maybe the reason they won the contract initially) and the cars have got both heavier (turbo-hybrid) and faster (wider cars) so probably haven’t been given a fair chance to create equivalent tyres to Bridgestone which appears to be the de-facto benchmark.

    In general, tyres are often a limiting factor in automotive pursuits. I thought that the reason the Bugatti Chiron can’t go at full beans is that there isn’t a durable enough tyre to take the loads.

    1. @chimaera2003 I agree with reducing the overall car base weight, but not with reducing downforce.

      1. But reducing weight is easy to say, and then you realize that part of that weight is safety measures, and some bits to neutralize driver weights, and a bit from PU, gearboxes not being superlight, poisonous, flammable unobtainium that have to be replaced after 500 km,and it turns out it is not actually easy to do at all. Especially without increasing cost.

        1. @bosyber I didn’t say that a lighter car was what I wanted, merely that it is the easiest way to fix the tyre issue as will reduce forces on the tyre. Everyone talks about how the Bridgestone tyres were great but the cars were 100kg+ lighter (I think) and downforce levels were lower.

          Reducing the car weight will be easier said than done (you have done a good summary) and would require a new engine formula (ie no batteries) to achieve anything meaningful so there are political obstacles as well.

          There is no good solution to this that doesn’t involve spending huge amounts of money (new engine formula, tyre war, extra tyre testing etc) so not really sure what the solution is. Just giving me 2 cents worth.

          1. @chimaera2003 I don’t know that removing the batteries would help, considering how much more efficient they have made the power units. They use about 100 kg of fuel per race nowadays at the most fuel-hungry circuits, compared to more than 150 kg per race back in the V8 days, so the weight of the hybrid stuff on the engine is only just enough to make up that difference (and only because the minimum weight of the engine and batteries is mandated – 145 kg for the engine and 20 kg for the batteries, compared to 95 kg for the V8s). Ultimate pace is considerably higher now too (comparing the elapsed time for the Hungarian GP in 2013 and 2020, the average speed was about 7 percent higher in 2020, for example).

    2. @chimaera2003

      They were told to make artificially degarding tyres to start with (maybe the reason they won the contract initially)

      No they were not told to start with. It was never part of the original tender. The other tyre manufacturers had different proposals. Michelin wanted longer lasting tyres to reduce the number of tyres and therefore cost.

      Pirelli was the only one to propose degrading tyres. That idea to “improve the show through tyres” might have helped the acceptance of their bid, but lets be honest and see that they bought the contract by proposing to pay a huge amount for track sponsoring to Ecclestone (while Michelin wanted to be paid for their tyres)

  11. They’re probably not going to be able to do it for next year but for 2022 we need a better tyre. We need a tyre that will give us more grip, better safety – a key matter there – and enables us to drive closer to cars and give you guys and the fans better racing.”

    Lol. Lewis doesn’t realize he and Pirelli want the same thing, a utopic tyre. And all of that developed in the utopic setting of no real life tests whatsoever (When you compare that to the 20.000 km a year testing of Ferrari and Bridgestone early 2000s).

    Since when do the tyres have any influence in close driving, when for the past 35 years you are driving in dirty air and therefore significantly reduced downforce, when you are driving 2 seconds behind another car.

    And in 2022 the tyre is going to be even more problematic due to the nature of 13 vs 18 inch rims and balloon vs low profile tires.

    1. Sad, “since when do the tyres have any influence in close driving” such magnificent ignorance ! Since the very 1st. year of Pirelli high-deg. tyres when drivers were instructed to stay 2 seconds behind to save the tyres, because, as you note dirty air reduces downforce causing tyre slip which overheats the compound resulting in rapid degradation.

      1. @Hohum
        Given that the tires are the same for everyone, and keeping ceteris paribus in mind, the only thing affecting the driver behind from following is dirty air.
        You can make the tires utopic, the cars still won’t be able to follow eachother. Cars haven’t been able to follow each other since the 80’s.

        So this idea that tires are the limiting factor is laughable.

    2. He’s not asking for much. Just tyres that are soft enough to provide the grip to eek into the aerodynamic crossover, hard enough to last half a race at full tilt but with a lap counter to stop working well when the pit window comes up in the same way at every track and to make sure people can’t just run long. Oh and also run flat but probably still light and faster than this year’s tyres. Would be nice if they made pretty sparks too while they are at it.

      Simple!

      1. And all of that developed without any real world testing!

  12. I’m happy with the chocolate tyres as Ham is the best in the business at looking after them. He cruised round 9s off the qualifying time in Spain and still pulled .5s a lap on his nearest competitor; even though the speed trap showed the Mercs were one of the slowest of the front runners, so he wasn’t exactly making the time up on the straights.
    And now with the limited number of engines per season he can afford to conserve the engine as much as he wants. for when he occasionally needs it. Plus half the time Max can’t get anywhere near him as he will cook his own tyres.
    Hamilton maybe getting bored with cruising to more wins and championships but as a poster said above, this is what the fans want tyre wise.

    1. LH sure didn’t appear to be the best in the business at looking after tires at the Silverstone races, but Max did. And Max has often shown to be able to run longer on tires. And then that changed in Spain a bit. Do you think some of it has to do with the car and the venue and the conditions too? And as LH said above, this is not what the fans want in spite of a poster or two disagreeing. Fact is there’s a ton of room for improvement on tires and Pirelli need to get it right for 2022.

      1. @robbie You are just making stuff up again. Hamilton was managing his tyres better than Verstappen at the British GP and all other races besides 70th anniversary.

        The only race where Verstappen dealt better with the tyres was the 70th anniversary one and that was clearly car related. Albon’s tyres lasted a lot better too.

  13. The reason F1 is still using the 2019 tyres instead of the 2020 tyres is because the teams rejected the 2020 tyres when they were asked for their preference last year. One obvious solution is for Pirelli to ask the teams again if they’d like to use the 2020 tyres at a Final Practice session. If they then like them then why not switch over to the new ones?

    1. Which would force them to make aero changes to the cars due to their different shape, and it seems they were only better at handling loads but were not better tires, but were worse.

      1. I guess that depends on how you define “better tyres” then @robbie. I would say they would have been better fit to do the job of safely racing with the downforce these cars can generate. Sure, the tyres as such might not have been as fast (on cars that were not finetuned for them more the less), but then, if they would have better coped with the loads, the FIA would not be talking about changing the floor to avoid issues next year and even this year.
        And pirelli would almost certainly not have to go for the extra high pressure they now mandate to cope either. Both of those things make the cars go slower overall with these 2019 tyres, so it is quite possible that with the 2020 tyres, the cars would have been faster still.

        Just look at the emergency decision to cut downforce afterall, to make the 2019 tyres useable for another season, which will mean further work at the back of the cars anyway. Had they not rejected the 2020 ones, they would not have to do that work. Which off course nobody could have know, but still it is true.

  14. I’m sure he could always ask Mercedes to setup the car to be less demanding on the tyres at the expense of speed. They have a good second advantage after all…

  15. Maybe HAM should fight for more diversity in tyre manufacturers in F1, instead of bashing Pirelli for something MANDATED by FIA. Also, FIA being silent (95%of the time) may also mean that Pirelli is doing a great job with the tyres…all those degradation percentages and cliffs must be spot on.

    Michelin was right not to pursue the tender because it knows that it would suffer the same fate as Pirelli right now, trying to balance durability and degradation inthe same tyre. As someone mentioned above, utopic!

  16. Ah the never ending yo-yo of requests from drivers, teams, fans and the FIA. Tyres too hard, one-stop races are boring so give us degradation. Tyres too soft, drivers can’t push or get close to one another on track without them falling apart.

    I do agree that it would be nice if they could do something about the thermal degradation and operating temperatures, so that drivers could push for longer when fighting with other cars without overheating, and preventing some of the ridiculous tyre prep laps in qualifying. But maybe it’s not possible to do that while meeting the strict tyre deg targets, with constantly evolving cars, and without any opportunities to test with current cars.

  17. I agree with him, I’ve hated the tyres we’ve had since 2011 regardless of who’s to blame for them. The tyres on top of DRS are a big part of why I care less about F1 now than I did in 2010.

    Yes tyre management has been part of the sport forever to varying degrees but my problem with it since 2011 is that it’s been down to tyres been made artificially worse which just makes it feel like a gimmick on top of created a number of additional issues over the past 9 years.

    F1 wanted to copy Montreal 2010 yet don’t seem to have understood why that race ended up been as good as it was. It wasn’t simply because the tyres degraded a lot, It was because they did so more than anybody was expecting & therefore nobody knew how to deal with it. It was something different that caught everyone out & that is what made it exciting. As soon as you try to recreate that it not only starts to feel fake but since everyone knows it’s going to happen they can plan for it & work around it which ends up with it losing everything that made the the original exciting.

    Not to mention that at Montreal in 2010 nobody was cruising around that slowly to manage them, Partly because they weren’t expecting to need to but also because while the tyres were wearing at a faster than expected rate they were not suffering any of the thermal issues the Pirelli’s do so could still be pushed. We still featured close racing with drivers pushing harder for many laps while behind other cars & that too was exciting to watch.

    We have the new regulations on the way in 2022 with cars that should hopefully be able to race closer & with overtaking more possible than it has been. If those cars race as well as is hoped then hopefully we can get rid of things like DRS & allow Pirelli to make more durable tyres so that we can get back to more pure racing free of some of the more artificial/gimmicky things of the past 9 years.

    1. I totally agree with you!

    2. @stefmeister Totally agree.

      Also, “improving the show” with tyres only works for one race, when the teams are still trying to get to grips with the new situation. At some point (the second race) they all converge to the same strategy and then it’s just a hindrance.

  18. Congratulations to @stefmeister for being the first to mention the impact that the teams and drivers have on tyre performance, and that Canada 2010 (and I’ll add the first part of 2012) were as interesting as they were almost solely because the teams didn’t have all the knowledge on every facet of the tyre’s performance, wear rate, thermal degradation, behaviour, etc…

    There isn’t a race tyre in any racing series anywhere in the world that can be pushed at 100% for a whole race distance (except possibly amateur karting) – most certainly not a series such as F1 that places such intense demands on the tyres.
    Going easy on the tyres to make them last will almost always be preferable to pitting one more time than necessary.
    Unless refueling is reintroduced or a higher minimum number of pitstops is mandated, maximising tyre life will be F1 teams’ main strategy for the foreseeable future – regardless of the tyre compound or construction.

    1. I remember a time when a teams main strategy was to get ahead of the driver in front of you.

      1. So do I.
        Ah, the good old days.

  19. How you going to have a tyre that’s degrading enough to create two stop races that are more exciting, but at the same time hold the grip and strength to push 100% all the time? Unless you make the tyres durable enough while retaining performance and make TWO stops mandatory you can’t have both. Worth pointing out if the tyres were more consistently durable and delivered constant performance with limited drop-off Hamilton would have probably lapped the field and the only ‘interesting’ race so far was the ones where the tyres normalised car performance.

    Also new rubber was suggested but the teams rejected it in favour of these. You can hardly complain when an alternative was optioned and rejected? The tyres – as lamentable as they may be are currently the only thing adding some variation or unpredictability to the races. So rather than bash Pirelli for doing what they were told, maybe tell the FIA to play with the rules a little better?

  20. proud_asturian
    17th August 2020, 13:01

    “M-m-my tires have gone Bono. We need to change tires, and I need to bully them to change the rules”

  21. Just read the comments. Wow. Many years of almost universal criticism of tyres from all commentators on here, as well as from the drivers. Then Hamilton says what everyone else has been saying and suddenly gets accused of ‘bullying’ ‘Self-praise’ ‘inflated ego’ ‘complaining’ ‘bashing Pirelli’.

    1. I think he is being paid by the FIA. Every time he says something that a number of fans want and the FIA don’t they ask Ham to say something positive about it. Stop sharing data between team mates until P3, bring back stick shifts, take away most of the buttons on the steering wheel so you have to remove your hand from the wheel to activate, don’t bring tyres that you can win with by just cruising round, bring fans closer to the action. All opposed by fans once Ham said it.

  22. Is it too much to ask for tires that can be pushed hard for a third to a half of a full race distance before experiencing a steep fall off in performance. Preferably there’d be little warning of the impending fall-off so teams pushing the limit could get caught out trying to stretch performance beyond prescribed lap recommendations. Obviously individual car setup would introduce some variability to the durability of the tires and none of that would probably keep the Mercs from dominating, but the midfield battles would be gladiatorial.

    1. @phillyspur That’s what we got at Silverstone 1, and then everybody complained that “exploding tyres are dangerous”. Maybe the performance drop was too much for some people.

      1. @hiperr I’m not sure you can drive all out on any of the current options available. Even the hardest compound falls off significantly if you push for more than a handful of laps so there’s still management required. I’m talking about being able to still lap within 1% of their best time after pushing for more than a third of the race, while accounting for the decreasing fuel load. And no one wants exploding tires. Tires that cause the driver’s lap time to almost instantaneously increase 10% when they go off would be acceptable.

        1. @phillyspur To build such a tyre, and also ensure that’s it’s capable of fast laptimes, would probably require it to have no heat-related degradation. They might be able to manage that better with the larger wheels (the thermal mass of the tyre itself will be smaller). Essentially it would require an extra-hard tyre with a soft compound overlaid on the surface that was worn away and eventually exposed the hard underlying surface, right?

          1. @hiperr Exactly my thinking. I feel as though someone only needs ask and Pirelli or some other manufacturer will be able to deliver.

          2. @phillyspur Yep – I suspect that you’re right that one of the manufacturers could build such a tyre if requested. The interface between the two compounds would be the real trick, I imagine – you wouldn’t want the tyres randomly flinging the remains of the soft compound off while you were going around a corner, for instance.

  23. Have two tyre manufacturers who aren’t allowed to make tyres to suit any particular team. Both manufacturers have to supply any team that wants their tyres, even on a race to race basis. Even allow drivers to choose which tyre they prefer for a particular race, say Bottas choosing Brand A, Lewis Brand B. The resulting tyre war will improve both racing and tyre quality.

    1. @greenflag

      Given free reigns on designing whatever tire a manufacturer wants. I don’t think Pirelli would have many teams choosing them based on all super positive comments I’ve read about Michelins in WEC & based on what Pirelli continues to do in F1.

      1. That’s a great comparison of apples and potatoes you made there.

        What Michelin makes for WEC (and their regulations/wishes) has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what Pirelli is supplying for F1 (at their request).
        Michelin’s reputation in F1 isn’t exactly flawless anyway.

      2. @s2g-unit Remember Indianapolis 2005? I do. Michelin didn’t exactly do a sterling job, and they weren’t even making a tyre to spec.

  24. Yes! Lewis for once you said something worth listening too and you actually know something about about the topic so im all for this.

    1. @abananasplitz, He has said it before, you should have been listening.

  25. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    17th August 2020, 15:55

    Since the beginning of time drivers of all racing series have been complaining about tires, Tony Stewart is one of the all time greats in the US and he complained every week about Good year making terrible tires. The old saying goes “if a driver isn’t complaining he’s not doing his job”.

  26. I’m not a fan of Pirelli, but in this case I want to start by defending them to some extent. It even says so in the fine print of the article as well, it’s not what Pirelli are doing that is wrong – it is the FIA target letter. A change in that target is what should be pushed for, otherwise Pirelli still have no choice but to keep delivering the same thing.

    As for Hamilton saying the tires need more grip, I’m sorry but I call that absolute BS. It really doesn’t matter how much or how little grip they have when everyone is using the same rubbers. There are aspects of the tires that should be improved for the sake of “better” racing, but the outright level of grip is not currently a problem. Maybe it’s just a bad choice of words from him, or a wrong citation, but I doubt it.

    I think there are two main problems with the current tires. It is all about relative values.
    – If a driver pushes the tires a little harder to gain lap time, the amount of gained performance must be in proper relation to the amount of increased ware/degradation. The current penalty in tire drop-off is way to big. If there was more performance to gain from pushing harder, or less degradation penalty for doing so, we would not see the same amount of tire management in races. The absolute amount of performance and degradation is irrelevant, it’s the relation between those that matters. If there is more to loose than to gain, no one will push like we all want them to do.
    – The steps between compounds must be such that using a softer tire makes you fast enough to have time for an extra pit-stop, but at the same time the ware/degradation must be such that one extra stop would be enough for the race distance. If the degradation is too high or the performance gain too low, relatively, teams will always favor the fewer stops strategy. How they have got the simple math of this so wrong is beyond me.

  27. If you need to use more grip, make a pit stop for fresh set of tyres.
    It’s like modern drivers think their race car should fly rather than race on road.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      17th August 2020, 17:42

      Drivers have complained about tires for as long as I can remember, it’s not just modern drivers complaining but I think when most of the grid complains about the tires something must be wrong with the tires.

    2. So they need to have more grip to be able to overtake and to fix that they need to make an extra stop which forces them to do even more overtaking which means they need more grip which means they need to make an extra stop which forces them to do even more overtaking …

  28. I don’t understand why we are STILL having this issue, how many years have Pirelli supplied the tyres now?

    Option 1 should be a tyre you can attack 100% on for the entire duration that they’re on.

    Option 2 should be a tyre which is faster than Option 1 but falls over a cliff after a certain point.

    You need to use both Options in the race unless the race is wet.

    That’s it. That’s all we need.

    1. Option 1 was hard tyre
      Option 2 was soft tyre
      Teams chose not to run the hard tyre.

      1. The hard tyre was unusable though, Red Bull made Albon try it and indeed it clearly did not work.

  29. Imagine if Pirelli decides that enough of this crap and walks away mid season. It will be curtain call for F1 2020. So stop complaining and be grateful that there are tyres to run the cars.

  30. Daft twit hasn’t got a clue!

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