Sainz tight-lipped over rumoured crash during 18-inch tyre test for Pirelli

2021 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr refused to confirm claims he crashed a Ferrari while testing Pirelli’s prototype 18-inch tyres at Jerez.

The new Ferrari driver was rumoured to have crashed the mule car, which has been specially adapted for testing F1’s new 18-inch wheels, at the Spanish circuit this week.

Asked by RaceFans about the report, Sainz said: “Obviously Pirelli testing is completely private so answering questions that are coming from somewhere else is difficult for me because I don’t know how much we can tell contractually about what happened in the test.

“But if something happened, that I’m not going to tell you, it was very minor.”

According to Pirelli, Charles Leclerc covered 110 laps of Jerez on Monday, and the two drivers did a combined total of 85 laps on Tuesday.

Sainz was encouraged by his first experience of the tyres which are due to be introduced for the 2022 F1 season.

“The first signs for me are, at least personally the first impression, has been positive, actually. It has been relatively positive, still taking into account how young the project of the 18-inch, and how little testing we’ve done so far.

“You can definitely start feeling some differences. There’s definitely some things still to keep developing but the first signs and the first feeling has been relatively positive. We need to wait until you fit those tyres into next year’s car which is going to be quite a completely different animal. But the first impressions with the mule car et cetera has been positive.”

Pirelli began its 18-inch tyre testing programme last year, but was forced to delay it due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Leclerc said he was also satisfied with how the test went.

“I have the same opinion as Carlos on the tyres,” he said. “We’ve tried different things and to be honest there are some positive things that came out of it. So this is is good. I believe that there is still quite a bit of work but it went in the right direction and this is a good thing.”

Image: Pirelli via Twitter

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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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11 comments on “Sainz tight-lipped over rumoured crash during 18-inch tyre test for Pirelli”

  1. What a huge advantage for them to be able to perform this test. Like they are not going to collect data somehow and add bits to the test car.

    On top of that they are claiming they have recovered some power back from their engines.
    I canā€™t wait to see what they are bringing for 2021.

    1. Adding bits to the car is presumably not allowed, and all data will be shared with other teams. Sure, might learn more than others, but not that much (for the extra cost of it – hence why most teams are not doing it).

    2. 9 of the 10 teams are doing 18inch wheel tests for 2022, with the one team not doing it seemingly choosing not to do so due to the cost of building and preparing the mule car. They’ll be the only disadvantaged one, the sport and the teams discussed at length to make sure that no single team would gain an advantage over the others through these tests

      1. +1… and if, my memory doesn’t failed me ( maybe it does :) ), i remember Mercedes few years back , was one of the few teams, doing test on the new pirelli tyre).

        1. @domo70 yes, during the 2016 season it was only Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes who were able to build test mules for the 2017 tires. They were required to share the data with the other teams but they still ended up top 3 in the championship (ofc they were top 3 in the championship in 2016 too, but still)

    3. Pat F1 will ensure that no one team will get a ‘huge advantage’ from these types of necessary tests. They are using a mule car for one thing, not their latest greatest car, and they will have not been given anything but the very basic info necessary such as required tire pressures to use etc. Maybe even not that much. It might be as basic as ‘Ok Carlos now go out on these, and really push, and tell us what you think.’ or ‘Do two laps at 90% then get on it for 10 laps and tell us what you think.’ All the while Pirelli is monitoring the tire behaviour, not Ferrari.

      This is a Pirelli test way more than this is Ferrari doing a test for Pirelli. It is Pirelli that will be present with their own team of researchers and they will have the vast majority of the data. Ferrari will likely not even know if the tires they were running at any specific time were a harder or a softer compound, and those compounds could and likely will be different from what actually gets run once they race in anger next year, for after all, this is a test, and is what is helping Pirelli go the right direction after seeing results from said test. Other teams will have their turn at helping Pirelli with this work as well.

    4. @bosyber @xenn1 @domo70 @robbie
      Everything indeed is made to ensure that not a single team gains any advantage over the rest, most relevantly, by sharing the data with everyone.

  2. Perhaps in ten years’ time, he might be willing to open up on the matter.

  3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    27th February 2021, 1:21

    One of the things I really appreciate about Racefans.net is that there is usually no reporting on rumors, gossip and other low-quality news. I have to admit that this report is slightly disappointing to me though. Admittedly, this is not a direct rumor being reported without credible sources, or in some other way presenting unfounded claims. However, reporting on someone not being willing to comment on such claims falls within my understanding of gossip anyway.

    1. Sainz basically confirmed it by saying ‘it was very minor’ so I wouldn’t exactly call this a rumour.

    2. Beste Hans,

      Volgens mij werd er wel gezegd dat het voorgeval erg klein was maar hij mocht er niets over zeggen. Dit betekend dat er wel iets was maar er niets over gezegd mocht worden.
      Dat is geen roddel maar een rapportage dus mag het gerapporteerd worden.

      translated:
      as i understand this the ‘crash’ was very minor but he couldn’t explain (or wouldn’t). This means that there was a accident but he was not allowed to talk about.
      So no gossip just a report.

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