Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2021

One-stop races ‘no issue’ if new tyres improve racing – Isola

2022 F1 season

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Pirelli’s Mario Isola says it is “not an issue” if the new 18-inch tyres for the 2022 F1 season lead to more one-stop races, as long as drivers can race.

As the new wheel sizes are being introduced alongside a radical overhaul of the technical regulations, Pirelli have developed a revised range of compounds which they expect will offer lower levels of degradation than previous years.

While Pirelli hope their new tyre specification will encourage a mix of strategies during races this season, Isola admitted it’s likely the reduced degradation will see one-stop strategies become the norm.

“I hope we don’t have less strategic variability, because the idea and the way in which we have designed the tyres is exactly to continue to have a different strategy mix of one and two stops,” he said.

“It is also true that with a new product, with less degradation, it is possible that we have less pit stops – so we have the majority of the races on one stop.”

Despite the lower expected volume of pit stops, Isola is happy to accept one-stop races at the majority of rounds if the new tyres encourage more racing action.

“As I always say, for me, it is not an issue as long as we have good races and action on track,” he explained.

“So if we have drivers that can push to overtake, we have a lot of action. When overtaking is too easy, it’s not good [bit] it’s important that the driver is putting a lot of effort in trying to overtake. That is exactly what spectators want.

“There is a survey made by F1 on that, and the majority of feedback was that spectators don’t want easy overtaking. They want action on track and they want fighting.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “One-stop races ‘no issue’ if new tyres improve racing – Isola”

  1. 1. the new tyres look cool. I hope 2022 bring a similar visual improvement.
    2. F1 seems to bt always answering the wrong question. The number of pitstops are irrelevant. The aspect F1 races missed for a long time is the possibility of different cars presenting different performances at different stints. This is why changing weather conditions tend to provide some action – the delta in car performance varies from lap to lap – even on the same lap. That is why “Bernie sprinklers” even became a sensible proposition.
    Say what you want about Indy, but one can see different strategies and really significant perfomance between cars during the race. The problem F1 is still trying to solve is that, even with new tyres, the car needs a 2sec delta for a overtake attempt to make sense.

    1. @Gusmaia

      Pit stops produce action on track by forcing drivers to race, rather than merely manage their tires, to prevent the under/overcut.

      1. @aapje Then why was it that the racing was generally more action packed with more overtaking going on out on the track in the days before pit stops became common.

        The No/1 stop races of the early 90s for example produced more than double the amount of overtaking on track than was the case after 1994 which was when refueling ensured most races were 2-3 stops. And in the refueling era it also tended to be the 1 stop races that featured the most overtaking as drivers knew they had to push to overtake on track rather than wait for the pit stop to get an easy pit pass that offered no excitement to fans wanting to see overtaking on track.

        1. Have to agree @roger-ayles and Gusmania, in a non-stop race or a one-stop where you end behind you know that if you want to win (w/o misfortune for those ahead), you will have to race for it; if that’s a realistic possibility well that’s good.

          I do agree that having more strategies be possible is usually a positive @aapje, though I think Isola also is right that compared to the situation we have been, if other ways of getting past become more viable, the absence of stopping strategy in some races may not be so important any more (and it will let Pirelli be a bit off the hook for being so much in the spotlight for whether or not they bring the right tyres, which I am sure they will appreciate, even if it might also mean less spotlights on them!).

          1. As I see it, I get what Isola is saying. Up until now, with the cars to which we have become accustomed I have heard it said that on average the races that get rated the highest are 2 stoppers. But to me that is due to the dirty air effect limiting close racing, so on average the more exciting races have had more strategy or pit action shall we say, to help spice things up a bit.

            With these new cars and tires, I get what Isola is saying and I expect it too. Even if the races become rarely 2-stoppers, let alone more, and are instead mainly 1-stoppers, the closer racing cars on the sturdier tires should negate the ‘preference’ for 2 stop races. There should be more action and I not only think the number of stops should matter less, so too should the appetite for wet races diminish. So too should all tracks offer more passing places, or at least places at which to attempt passes, than with the clean air dependent cars of the past.

          2. Without incidents, mistakes etc.

            The fastest car starts first, done to the slowest in last. In a non-stop race there is limited/no opportunity for a slower car to get by a faster car and gain track position. Best chance the start. After that a procession except for the cars out of position.

            2-3 stops for much more strategy, giving slower cars a chance to gain track position and give them some sort of “chance” to keep the faster cars behind.

  2. The degradation isn’t the issue. As far as I’ve heard the issue is they overheat too easily so of you push they overheat more easily than what is necesarrily a good compound. The window is too narrow apparantly. And to me it sounds very logical that would create this issue

  3. Sergey Martyn
    20th January 2022, 18:23

    Back in 70-90’s races were won by some crazy non-stop strategies.
    I just don’t understand the moaning about fuel consumption vs A MOUNTAIN of tyres dumped during each race weekend – 13 sets (i.e. 52 tyres) per car = 546 sets = 2184 tyres
    Greta, where are you? Please wake up!
    Every time one tyre is dumped at least 17.53 cute little rabbits die in rainforest or whatever not yet polluted place due to shortage of oxygen or whatever green issues caused by a production of such a lot of tyres!
    I’d suggest cancelling mandatory pit stops and awarding points to the drivers who lasted till the flag on one set not causing the deaths of cute little rabbits and to deprive points from anti-environmental and irresponsible lunatics who opted for two or even three pit stops just to grab one lousy point for fastest lap!

  4. Can we please go back to no stop races? Nothing worse than watching a race and then having these guys drop down to 50mph and then stop.

  5. Strong agree. I think many people are looking at 1-stop races in the context of the last decade – less pit stops meaning less “variety” and on-track action. But if the aero changes have the intended effect of allowing closer racing, that context will no longer be meaningful.

    Though if they don’t achieve their intended effect, then we’re in trouble!

    1. Yeah if the cars can actually race far closer then I’d rather see more places getting made up on track than through pit stops. Could have epic back and forths going on for half a race.

    2. If….

      How much confidence should we have that F1 have finally started making real racing cars?
      Personally, I have very little indeed.

  6. I agree with him, Especially those last 2 paragraphs.

    I want to see hard racing, I want to see drivers having to work hard to overtake & a driver ahead also having the possibility to be able to fight to defend.

    I had no problem with no-stop races in the past & I don’t dislike 1 stop races in modern times. I want to see close racing, I want to see drivers pushing without tyres overheating & I prefer to see overtaking down to driver skill & good race-craft done on the track rather than in the pits or been made too easy as a result of faster tyres or DRS.

    That has by far been my biggest gripe with the past decade of DRS & Pirelli comedy Cheese tyres.

    Passing as a result of strategy is often just as boringly dull, unexciting & forgettable as your average DRS highway pass. If better tyres & less stops change that so that overtaking is actually exciting & encouraged to be carried out on track again then i’d be fine with no-stops been allowed again (in fact i’d prefer no stops be possible anyway).

  7. Something I wonder sometimes is how many of those who today insist you need pit stops & strategy ensuring 2-3 stops only hold that view as they started watching after 1994 at which point with refueling 2+ stops tended to be the norm.

    Maybe they just stick to F1 needing multiple stops because that is the way things were when they started watching & therefore just what they see F1 as having always been.

    And maybe those of us who were following F1 before 1994 when no stops were common & races that featured pit stops only tended to feature 1 are more comfortable with the potential of races only feturing 1 stop (Or even no stops) because we remember how good the racing was when the focus was 100% on the track rather than under/over cuts in the pits.

    When drivers had to fight to overtake on track because with no stops been possible you never knew if the guy you were racing was even going to stop, That created real tension, drama & excitement & better racing.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      20th January 2022, 19:53

      Completely agree with this. I too was following F1 long before 1994!

      Another thing that I think takes the tension away these days is too much data being available. As @roger-ayles says, back then you never knew whether someone was going to stop. Nowadays, with a few exceptions, everyone seems to know not only how many times people are going to stop, but pretty much when. Kind of takes the jeopardy out of it a bit.

    2. It’s so true that one. Probably most of the current fans didn’t watch F1 without mandatory pitstop ir prior second refueling era. Races were really good, and the freedom they had to even mix compounds (ex: harder tire on the left and softer on the right) made it really difficult to predict which strategy was the best. And for those who will say we have rose tinted glasses, during this Covid period without races I was able to rewatch all races from 1981 until 1997, and it was easier to see how race was much better prior 1993. It was so cool.

    3. It’s not strictly about when people started watching – it’s about what they prefer to watch, @roger-ayles.
      Just to be clear – yes, I was watching F1 prior to 1994. For quite a while.

      I’m not sure exactly what you think you remember, but the racing in F1 has never been very good. Sporadic at best.
      The norm for as long as I can remember has been cars spreading out over the race distance and rarely meeting up again unless one is being lapped, or – in the past – suffering a mechanical failure or other race-ending issue.
      It was very common to have less than 6 cars on the lead lap by race end, and often only 3 or 4, with large gaps in between.
      The strategic element with tyres and refuelling always improves the depth of interest, and ability for teams to at least try something different.

      Again, you seem to neglect the influence of the (in)ability of the cars to actually race each other in modern F1. Dirty air wasn’t nearly the destructive force in the 80’s or 90’s that it is now.
      Yes, I’m applying that to the incoming cars too.

      1. With all due respect, this was exactly the opposite when I bothered to watch all races from 1981 to 1998 in sequence last year. I did this because I thought that it could be the rose tinted glass effect, but I was so wrong. From There were a great sequence of memorable races, and seldom they were processional. I believe that the only really more boredom season from this period was 1992, where Williams was miles ahead everyone. Also I agree that on 1987 there was a huge gap on turbo vs aspirated cars, and that on 1988 the Mclarens were on a league if their own (but this was compounded with great Senna – Prost battles) But there were several memorable races all around, and the circuits were so much better. Old osterreichring, old Silverstone, Long Beach, Old Kyalami, Adelaide; even Dijon was great. We had some dull circuits here and there (Las Vegas, Phoenix) but even there the races were good. Try to watch the races from 1981 to 1985 and from 1989 to 1991 again and you will find several real overtakes, and real defense driving. And the best, without this “lawyer nonsense” we have today about track limits, etc. Back then, the consequences of mistakes were much greater, and the lack of “anti stall mode” on cars and gravel traps all around made much riskier overtake attempts. It needed to be done decisively and timely in order to work, no I’ll attempts or easy DRS passes back then.

        1. Comes back to personal opinion, I guess @mmertens.
          I’ve watched most of them and found that overall relatively few were particularly competitive on Sundays.
          Certainly, the general entertainment value and spectacle of those cars were much better than the current ones, but the racing itself on the track was not really much different to now. As I said, reliability issues and driving errors regularly mixed up the field and the results, keeping viewers in suspense until the cars actually crossed the finish line.
          The biggest attractions from back then were, as you say, the level of input the driver had into the overall performance on the day, and the consequences for getting it wrong.

  8. Very weird headline, never does he say the new tyres will improve racing… Rather he talks about if the regulations will improve the racing.

  9. I expect many people will be here after the second or third race commenting about the lack of strategy, the DRS trains and the follow-the-leader stuff that will inevitably result from having fewer pitstops. Everyone doing basically the same pit-stop strategies because that’s the ‘most optimal’ way to do it. The undercut-overcut at the one pit stop will still be the primary opportunity to make up position, there will be even fewer opportunities now.
    Yes, drivers will need to overtake each other on the track to make up positions, but that only works if they actually can.
    F1 history, especially recently, says they can’t unless they are a faster car out of position.

    1. S I still don’t understand your pessimism given what Liberty and Brawn have put into F1 with the budget caps, the better money distribution, and the cars meant to race closely. You seem awfully married to the BE era, and now this year finally we will have something completely different. Not sure why you think it will just be more of the same given the huge and unprecedented effort that has gone into cars that can race closely and teams being closer to each other. If you don’t think these cars are going to cut it, what exactly would you have done?

      1. You seem awfully married to the BE era, and now this year finally we will have something completely different.

        I’m certainly not, and will we? Really? Only time will tell. F1 have put lots of thought and planning into every other technical change before to improve the racing, and what happened?
        I’ll stick to my educated expectations for now.

        What would I have done?
        The first thing I’d do is knock 5-10 seconds per lap off their performance – F1 has been the fastest, but now it needs to provide better racing.
        Shorter, narrower cars, far less aerodynamic surface area, aero flow around the back of the car designed to increase drag and direct clean air into the void currently filled with turbulence and a partial-vacuum, far fewer appendages all over the car (were on the top, now underneath – but still all doing the same thing) and smaller fuel tanks. Return to refuelling as a strategic element that also assists in reducing car size and mass.
        And then I’d consider some sporting regulation changes. Many of them, probably.

  10. RandomMallard
    21st January 2022, 7:46

    I would rather see tyres that can survive a 1 stop race than tyres that explode, as we’ve seen on countless occasions in the last couple of years.

    I would also like to see them remove the one mandatory stop/two compound rule. If you think you can get through the race on one set of tyres, you can (was it Rosberg in Russia in 2014 or 2015 who ran every lap except the first on one set of hards?). If you think it’ll be quicker to make a stop, but make that time up on quicker tyres, you can.

    1. Countless occasions? given the number of tyres they’ve used and the loads going through them in modern F1 – I think a small handful of failures (not all tyre construction related) is a very impressive achievement, to be honest.
      The durability of the tyre carcass has relatively little to do with the compound of rubber over it.
      What you are asking for is to put the tyre carcass trough even more stress by allowing – nay, encouraging – it to be on the car even longer…
      And yet you say you don’t want more failures…

      That’s a technical problem that can be solved, of course – but will it make for better racing? Will it even allow the racing to be even at the level it was with the previous tyres?
      That’s the important question.

  11. As far as racing turns out to be good, they can move to 0 stop option as far as I care..

    Or give freedom to run same compounds.

    The moment aero regulations prove to allow overtaking, this design to degrade part of history can be closed.

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