Pirelli say 2021 tyre test was “positive” despite criticism from Hamilton and others

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Pirelli says the outcome of today’s test of its 2021 tyres was “positive” despite criticism from several drivers including Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton said Pirelli’s revised compounds, which all drivers ran during today’s practice sessions, were “worse” than the previous tyres. Last year F1 teams decided against introducing new compounds Pirelli had designed for the coming season, and Hamilton believes the same should happen again this year.

In a statement supplied to RaceFans, Pirelli’s head of motorsport and F1 Mario Isola acknowledged the concerns expressed by some drivers. He believes their dissatisfaction with today’s test of the 2021 compounds arose because their cars are optimised for this year’s tyres.

“We can understand that not all drivers were positive about these tyres because this setting of the cars was the one expected for the normal 2020 tyres,” said Isola. “The 2021 tyres need a different kind of setting of the car which teams and engineers have now time enough to find out and develop.”

Isola said he was satisfied with the outcome of today’s running of the tyres, which are designed to cope better with the higher cornering forces generated by current F1 cars,

“For Pirelli the results we got from the tyres are positive because we bonded them to a better resistance, considering that the performance of the cars is increasing and increasing and these tyres – the actual tyres – are old by two years. Now it’s a question of setting the cars to exploit them the best and we are quite positive that the drivers can find them much more drive-able after that.”

The track conditions at Bahrain were also not ideal, Isola added. “The track was quite slippery today, as every driver has much underlined. So this was also the situation: Drivers found it particularly difficult to find the best way to develop them considering that the car setting was not the one that is necessary to have the best from these tyres.”

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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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31 comments on “Pirelli say 2021 tyre test was “positive” despite criticism from Hamilton and others”

  1. Good Pirelli. Stick to what data you have. We clearly saw in earlier races this year (remember, tyre blowouts, possibly Imola as well) that with the benefit of hindsight it was the wrong step to stay with the 2019 tyres this year. Don’t let yourself get pushed into keeping them again for next year

    1. @bascb I wonder if for the most part, with a few exceptions, the teams would disagree with you as to their tire choice for the season, and say they made the right call. Not saying they love the tires, but I think they would still not have wanted the 2020’s. I don’t see it as Pirelli being pushed around, just out-voted, and I rather like that the teams have at least some say, even if it for the lesser of two and now three evils.

      That said, to me Pirelli make a valid point about proper setups, and it does remind one how surprisingly little time there is for Pirelli and the teams to work something sensible up. Who knows what tires they’ll go with next year, but surely there needs be a proper test and will be, and at the same time I’ll not assume Pirelli can’t extract some useful info from today, knowing they can take into account less than ideal car setups and an abrasive track.

      1. The huge thing people seem to miss in comments on these tyres, is that the main point of these tyres wasn’t to improve their speed.

        Also, had they not voted to keep the 2019 tyres, teams wouldn’t have had to change as much on their cars for next season. All changes are there to make it safe (cutting downforce) to run this carcass for another year.

        1. I definitely think what you say here has a lot of truth to it, and to me what Pirelli is saying in the article also reeks of not quite wanting to say ‘told you so before, why not do avoid going that way now’ @bascb

          @robbie all the talk about ‘needs proper test’ has even in normal seasons been harder and harder with all the testing restrictions, in this year it is simply unrealistic, that’s why they are here with these tyres instead of an all new better one it seems to me.

    2. @bascb The tyres blew because they had cuts in them and the thread was all worn off. There is no proof that the newer spec tyres would have survived. Other then Pirelli trying to blameshift those issues away with a choice they themselves were openly OK with

      1. You’ve been proven wrong with these nonsense stories before, @f1osaurus.
        We cannot keep linking the proof that the original tyres were designed to withstand higher loads, and delivered to that. (But I guess you will only accept teams to run another British GP with those tyres as ‘proof’).

        Very Trumpian to keep shouting it, only to convince yourself. I wonder when you invoke the Dominion link to make your point.

        1. #ashtag, when you look at what Pirelli was saying at the time they tested those tyres in 2019, the main emphasis was not on the load capacity of the tyres.

          When you look at the objectives that were set for Pirelli in August 2019 by the FIA, most of the targets they were set were in relation to the degradation rate, operating temperature window and heating rates. Similarly, if you take this quote from Isola before the tests in the 2019 US GP race weekend, he commented that “What we are doing for next season is to redesign the construction in order to modify the footprint, and this is mainly to reduce overheating.”.

          Most of the discussions about the changes to the profile, compound and construction was about widening the working temperature window and the heating characteristics of the tyres. It may be that a secondary goal was for a stronger carcass, but that wasn’t something that Pirelli was emphasising before the proposed 2020 spec tyres were scrapped.

          1. “Considering the predicted evolution of the cars for next season, we still believe that the 2020 tyre construction remains the best solution,”

            That’s MARIO ISOLA after the test in 2019 on their official site!

        2. Lol, there were NO quotes from Pirelli explaining that F1 needed the 2020 spec tyres to make it through Silverstone. Not BEFORE Silverstone happened!

          Afterwards they mumbled something that the new tyres would probably have lasted longer. And they added “for sure”.

          That’s not even the point. The point is that there has been NO proof that the new tyres would have withstood the same long stints any better. Only Pirelli’s say so.

          The same Pirelli that keeps saying they improved the tyres. Now for the second time. And they didn’t. On neither occasion. Why would we believe any other performance claims they made?

  2. Who were the ‘several other’ drivers?

    1. Ah ok, so Vettel, Verstappen, Albon, K-Mag. Again not great headlines though I guess.

      1. Sorry that’s unfair. I’ll shut up now.

        1. @john-h Good talk :)

  3. Tires looked like balloons 🎈

    1. @jeff1s I know right? Could it be because of the sidewall paint missing? Or are they really that much more bulgy?

  4. The teams just like sticking to what they know. Especially Mercedes enjoy this borefest.

    Pirelli should allow none of that and just produce the tyres they believe are optimal.

    Usually, what’s best for F1, is what teams and drivers don’t like.

    1. @spafrancorchamps

      Pirelli should allow none of that and just produce the tyres they believe are optimal.

      The problem is that Pirelli don’t even know what does an optimal tyres mean nor they know how their tyres will behave in each race which is becoming obvious even for the casual fan.
      The teams are fed up with Pirelli promising better tyres and still failing badly every year. Why do they have to redesign their cars (suspensions, aero…) just to get the same result ? It’s not just Mercedes, but all the teams unanimously agreed, which is very strange in F1, that the tyres are rubbish. The impressive thing though is the rich excuses repertoire that Pirelli have.

      1. Well, then the teams should stop supporting a reduction in testing shouldn’t they, and provide more and better testing mules.

        It is completely ridiculous that the amount of practice in a sport is no more than 10 to 14 days for the entire season.
        Imagine that football players, or tennis players were no longer allowed to touch a ball outside of a match weekend, thats what F1 is currently like.
        All of the development is done on the basis of calculated model, or in other words a limited abstract from the real world.

        It doesn’t work.

    2. @spafrancorchamps Pirelli is supposed to deliver what they are asked to do. They don’t decide whatever they want to do.

      They were told the current tyres are horrible and they were given a list of expected improvements. Then they turn up with tyres that are even worse! Two years in a row!!!

  5. The tires have been rubbish for a decade now so I don’t know why anybody is surprised they will continue to be rubbish going forward.

    F1 & Pirelli should be ashamed & embarrassed at giving the pinnacle of the sport the worst tires in all of motor sport.

    Pirelli can’t even hide behind the ‘doing what they are told’ argument anymore as they haven’t been told to make rubbish cheese comedy tires for a few years now. They have meetings with teams & drivers & come up with a number of targets which they consistently fail to achieve which just tells you that the problem is that Pirelli just aren’t doing a very good job. Embarrassing.

    Just allow competition, Let teams pick what supplier & what tires they want like it was for most of F1’s history. Teams & drivers been forced to use tires none of them like isn’t what the pinnacle of the sport that is meant to be about competition & pushing the boundaries of performance is meant to be about.

    F1 needs to go back to been F1 again!

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th November 2020, 0:26

      Apart from the typos: couldn’t agree more!

    2. @roger-ayles While I do agree with you about the pitiful tires, for me it is not about them in the grand scheme of things. I blame almost everything on the clean air dependent cars that F1 has had for far too long. In a nutshell, aero cars are not good at racing closely together, and that begets processions, and over time that has begotten the ‘need’ or ‘desire’ for variety from other means, eg. terrible tires meant to force variety where the drivers cannot. Drs, sprinklers, reverse grids…all artificial means along with the artificial tires to try to provide variety where the cars cannot.

      I’ll repeat again as I have done several times on this site, and will continue to do so, let’s give the wholly new regs with the ground effects cars that will barely be negatively affected in dirty air a chance. I predict they will be accompanied with better tires, no drs, and no more talk of reverse grids. And fans won’t have to yearn for rainy races to create variety either. In the new era the drivers are going to provide plenty of real action on the track.

    3. @roger-ayles Again? You love that line, don’t you? “The tyres are bad and it’s all Pirelli’s fault.”
      Got nothing to do with F1 issuing tyre performance goals, teams and drivers rejecting improved tyres (tested on cars designed and set up for different tyres) and the basic fact that there is nothing to compare them with?

      I suppose you’ve deliberately glossed over the point that the test tyres used yesterday were run at lower pressures than the current competition tyres?
      In order to do so, they need to be fundamentally stronger and less pliable, resulting in a different performance profile…

    4. @roger-ayles The sad thing is that Pirelli tried to improve them and they are even more rubbish

      1. If you consider, less likely to fail and therefore less likely to explode, more rubbish sure.

        Would it have been better if Pirelli stuck to the 2014 tires and said to the teams deal with it? They could have said: When they blow, its the team’s fault for running them too long, when they grain it’s the team’s fault, when they overheat, team’s fault, when they can’t get them in the window, team’s fault and otherwise driver error.
        Pirelli could have actually acted like the tires aren’t to blame at all, or people could collectively accept that currently both for race cars and road cars the limiting technology is the tires. And that Pirelli simply can’t develop faster without adequate realworld testing.

        The days that Bridgestone and Michelin broke the bank to win a race are long, long gone. It’s all about saving money, diminishing costs, and greater profit margins.

  6. Tyres looked stiffer even though pressures were not limited as are the normal gp tyres. we’ve seen some failures this season, anything to avoid them, even if it means a slower tyre.
    Surely the best car on track is perfect on the current tyres, ham is a tyre master he surely knows what he is talking about.

    1. Yeah, he’s talking about not wanting to learn the characteristics of a different tyre.
      Staying with the current tyres gives him a relative competitive advantage.

  7. Competitive suppliers need to be brought into the fray. Make the races exciting again.

  8. All very good points @peartree.

  9. If the Pirellis are anything like the P Zeros I gladly dumped on our Audi [and likewise many Audi drivers did around the world] no wonder the drivers are complaining.
    Totally concur that unless the development tyres are put on cars properly set-up for them, then its the apples vs anything but syndrome – good luck!!!!

    1. @ancient1 I guess you’d be fine to first redesign your Audi to make those Pirelli’s work and then decide if they are good enough or not? Not setup, redesign.

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