Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

Pirelli confident new F1 tyres are better able to withstand peak forces

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In the round-up: Pirelli’s head of car racing and Formula 1 Mario Isola says tests of their new tyres for the 2021 season shows they are better able to withstand the high forces generated at the quickest tracks.

What they say

Isola said preventing a repeat of the failures seen at last year’s British Grand Prix was a priority for Pirelli.

That’s obviously the target. We don’t want to have any any tyre issue anywhere.

Silverstone is a good reference because it’s a circuit with, I believe, the highest severity of the championship. But to quantify it, it’s a bit difficult because we have different tests with our indoor department to assess the level of integrity. So to give you a number is difficult.

I saw some numbers what and I can tell you that is a clear step. It is visible. We are not talking about 5% or something like that, that is probably a small number. It is a clear step.

We have some tests that are stressing the tyres for hours also and you can see quite a big difference in that. It’s important to understand how to translate indoor testing with the usage on track. Obviously what we try to do is to have different indoor tests that are testing that are replicating what happens on-track. A mirror of what happens on track, that’s the final target of any indoor test.

But it is not as easy as I’m telling you, because you have to consider the load, the dynamic camber, the speed, the pressure – because you start with a certain pressure, you stabilise at a different pressure than maybe you have a Safety Car and you drop down with the pressure and then you have a colder condition and again, you change everything. So what we try to do is to replicate what happened on outdoor conditions with our indoor testing. But it is a longer activity, it is a complex activity where you try to replicate any single element of what we experience outdoor.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

How much progress will McLaren be able to make having switched to Mercedes power for 2021?

I think McLaren is a tough team to gauge in this coming year. Their package last season was pretty strong and that team really is starting to come into their own. However, sure… they are taking on the Mercedes engine and will provide a boost in that department. Though, this change could negatively impact other various strong performing areas regarding handling and even aero packages. This could take the team time to sort it out. So I expect a little bit of a slow start from them. You can’t just swap out a power unit in these cars without impacting other performance areas.
Hiland (@flyingferrarim)

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On this day in F1

Gary Paffett, McLaren, Jerez, 2006
Gary Paffett, McLaren, Jerez, 2006

On this day 15 years ago a four-day test session began at Jerez. Several teams demonstrated cars in test liveries including McLaren (above), BMW, Williams and newcomers Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi.

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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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  • 23 comments on “Pirelli confident new F1 tyres are better able to withstand peak forces”

    1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      10th January 2021, 1:08

      As much as I would love to see Imola return to the calendar again, an April date would presumably be another fan-free affair. I understand the circuit wouldn’t be able to afford the hosting fees under normal circumstances but last year it was the one race I really did long to attend in person. It looked stunningly beautiful in HD TV coverage and the obvious events of the past make it a very atmospheric, almost sacred place. I do hope fans have the chance to attend at least one Grand Prix there in the future.

      1. I’d like to attend a race there as well but I think expecting there to be fans allowed there this year is a tall order from where we are now.. Hopefully the circuit might stay on the calendar.

      2. @jackisthestig
        I honestly can’t understand this whole Imola-mania.
        It’s an old style track, too narrow for modern day standards, which failed to provide a decent spectacle.
        THe fact it’s historical doesn’t mean it should be still used nowadays.
        Nobody wants to bring modern F1 cars to Brooklands, right?

        1. They’d never go back to Brooklands, there isn’t a race track there.
          Why is it too narrow, the cars were wider back in the 90s.

    2. There were 2, YES 2, races in Silverstone in 2020, did pirelli test the 2021 tires in any session of either of those races? No they absolutely did not, test tires on the track that they consider the most severe. Fp1, 2 and 3 of 2 races , 6 total practice sessions and pirelli did not test even 1 set of 2021 tires. That is exactly why the pirelli tires are a complete failure and there is absolutely nobody to blame other than pirelli.

      Pirelli has decimated the racing in F1, more than any other single factor has.

      1. @megatron was there an option to run those tests in the first place though?

        You have to look at what was happening in the period around April last year, as Pirelli would have needed to start looking at their tyre allocation for the British GP at around that date. The sport had already seen the Australian GP cancelled at the last minute, and the Dutch, Spanish, Azerbaijan, Chinese, Vietnamese, Monaco and Canadian GP’s had been cancelled.

        When the decision was being made, nobody was sure if the British GP would be allowed to go ahead as the BRDC had not yet won approval from the UK government to hold a race behind closed doors, especially as the infection rate in the UK around that time was still quite high.

        Tyres that had been produced for the cancelled Spanish GP could be reallocated to other races, including the British GP if it went ahead – however, at a time when nobody was entirely sure when the 2020 season might start, or whether it would even be possible to race in the first place, I suspect that few would have ordered 2021 spec tyres to be produced for a test at the British GP when nobody knew that would even occur.

        You might say retrospectively that they should, but could you have predicted sufficiently far enough in advance that the British GP would occur to make that call?

    3. Do you prefer « slow news » to « no news » ?

    4. Happy Birthday @eurobrun, and others.

      PS That 2006 McLaren looks very QAnon. I wonder where it was last Wednesday.

      1. Coventry Climax
        10th January 2021, 14:06

        That McLaren looks it has Alain Prost’s crooked nose! Don’t think that is what Alain gave him his speed though ;-)

    5. My question is whether or not the F1 teams based in the UK are going to be impacted by the lockdown or will they be able to continue working at their factories developing their 2021 cars?

      During the March lockdowns they were pretty much shut down and I imagine that each of them have been pretty much flat out at the moment.

      If indeed they’re impacted, this alone has the potential to impact the start of the season.

      1. @dbradock I’d worry more about whether the lockdown could have any impact on them leaving the UK for the races than whether they can work in their factories.

      2. The March lockdown was much more of a proper lockdown than this one (so far) so I don’t think they’ll have any issues. If things are tightened, there’s enough money in F1 to buy their way around any regulations that are put in place.

        1. @petebaldwin Not literally any. The UK might be more lenient and willing to grant an exemption for F1, but not all places are. Australia, but probably also the likes of China, Japan, and the US, to name a few.

    6. Coventry Climax
      10th January 2021, 14:15

      Unfortunately however, Pirelli are quite alone in their confidence.
      All those driver comments after the last tyre test! And then Pirelli still have the nerve to come back and say the test was ‘succesful’. Heard so much crap from Isola over the years.
      I’d like to see an independent(!) investigation on the relation tyres / declining fanbase, and I’ll shut up about Pirelli if what I think about them turns out to be wrong.

      1. Pirelli were testing for reliability – drivers want performance.
        Of course they are going to have different opinions on them.

        How did the drivers feel about the 2019 tyres back in late 2018?

        1. Coventry Climax
          10th January 2021, 14:58

          @S: As I recall, very similar. Drivers do indeed want performance, as do the fans. But the drivers ALSO want reliability. They’d rather not get killed by tyre-failure. Ask Vettel after the Spa incident, Hamilton after Silverstone, Bottas after all his punctures, etc etc etc.
          Have we seen performance over the Pirelli years?
          Have we seen reliablity over the Pirelli years?
          A better question would be: Looking back now, in 2021, how do the drivers feel about all of the Pirelli tyres, from first year to last year.

          1. And what have they got to compare them to?
            Given the advances in car performance and the increases in tyre loadings over that period, is it completely justified to assume that another manufacturer could have done any better?

            Bottom line is if the drivers and teams prioritised reliability (and safety) then that’s exactly what they’d get. Performance just has to take the back seat.

            1. Coventry Climax
              11th January 2021, 17:47

              You’ve got a point that there’s nothing to compare to, tyrewise, as the FIA in their infinite wisdom have decided that Pirelli should have no competition. Can’t prove it, but I do think other manufacturers might have done (a lot) better. Justified is not the correct word, as it’s also not justified that others would NOT have done better.
              Being the only supplier however doesn’t automatically make you a good supplier.
              For years East-Germany had only Wartburgs, Trabants and Lada. No competition makes you complacent. And that indeed is the tone of voice I hear from Pirelli all the time.
              Performance having to take the backseat is not (and should not be, in my opinion) in F1’s dictionary.

      2. There doesn’t seem to be much of a link, since there were already noticeable declines in viewing figures when Bridgestone was the sole tyre supplier.

        In what has been hailed as the traditional market (i.e. Europe), quite a few markets have seen their viewing figures decline since the mid to late 2000s, if not earlier (Italy, for example, saw viewing figures peak around 2001).

        The tyres seem to have fairly little influence, and even complaints about a lack of balance in the field don’t seem to be that significant compared to the declines caused by a move to subscription only broadcasting – that shows the strongest correlation with falling viewing figures by far.

        1. Coventry Climax
          10th January 2021, 19:25

          That’s the whole point, “doesn’t seem” and “tyres seem” are not independent investigations. Discussing this and giving opinions is all very nice but not the same as research. No offense.
          I agree it might not be massively influential, but I’d like to know if there’s a trend and if yes, in what direction.
          That trend may well be ‘within’ the bigger trend caused by pay-TV. Doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t there.
          Anyway, I know it’s not going to happen. The FIA seem very happy, and they don’t care that I’m not very happy with the FIA.

      3. I suspect going behind a paywall affects the fan base. Another way of thinking about a paywall is to think of it as a fine for watching F1. I’m not sure how fining people for watching F1 equates as to whether or not the tyres Pirelli supply meet F1’s specifications (they do, otherwise F1 would complain and possibly fine Pirelli). The fact drivers complain doesn’t mean the tyres are outside of the specifications F1 stipulated. If Pirelli gives some tyres to a driver, who drives them around the track say 50 laps, and the tyres come back worn but still with the amount of tread expected, then Pirelli have a right to be happy, and arguably have a right to say the test was successful.

    7. That looks like the 2005 mp4-20 Mclaren

      1. @luigismen You’re right, it indeed is MP4-20. MP4-21 has a narrower front-end.

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