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Pirelli against mandatory pit stops

NEWS STORY
11/01/2019

As Formula One's powers-that-be continue the hunt for the sport's holy grail, a set of regulations that will make each race more exciting than the last, with all twenty drivers in with a chance of a podium, and six or seven drivers battling for the title right up to the last race, seemingly nothing is off the table.

Aware that pit stops for tyres mean an additional opportunity for mistakes which can sometimes turn a race on its head, and concerned at the number of races that currently only require one stop, there has been talk of introducing mandatory stops in a bid to 'spice up the show'.

Pirelli, which will continue to be the sport's sole tyre supplier to F1 until 2023, is not in favour of the proposal.

"There was a lot of talk about imposing two stops by regulation," the Italian manufacturer's F1 boss Mario Isola tells Reuters. "I'm not sure that is the right solution because you have the risk of all the cars stopping on the same lap."

This season sees a change to the colour coding, which though introduced to make things easier for casual fans to understand, is already causing confusion as the three colours at each race (white, yellow and red) will cover the entire range of compounds meaning that the softest (red) at one circuit may well be the hardest (white) at another.

Already under orders to produce tyres that fit the sport's powers-that-be's concept of how the racing should be, Isola believes tyre should be more consistent in order to allow drivers to push harder.

"We want to be a bit more conservative because if we have one stop races anyway, at this point it's much better that we give drivers a bit more consistent tyres and they can push more and maybe we have a better show on track," he said, though he admits that providing tyres less susceptible to over-heating is still a problem. "We made some improvement on the product itself, we've different compounds in order to reduce the over-heating. But the over-heating is not avoidable when you follow another car and you lose a lot of downforce."

Looking ahead to 2021, when the sport switches from 13-inch wheel rims to 18-inch, he said: "We already started to design the new tyres because we cannot wait. The deadline was already in the past.

"What we can do is adapt the tyres, the design, to the new rules when they are available. But we need to know at least 80 - 90 percent of the expected performance of the cars as soon as possible... without that information it is really a challenge.

"We have two years in front of us before using the 18-inch tyres so it's important that we use this time in a good way. We cannot lose time but I believe we can do something good if we have the right process."

Isola revealed that the first part of this season will see Pirelli focussing on its 2020 tyres before turning its full attention to its 2021 rubber.

"We don't want to stop the development of the 2019 product because there is something more we can do and we know that," he said. "But for sure, the second half of 2019 will be dedicated to 18 inch tyres. I would say six months for 2020 and then we switch to 18 inches and dedicate 100 percent of the people to the new size and new challenge."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/01/2019 15:36

"@ Yppiescum - absolutely correct. But I presume you (& most posters hereabouts) are fans of Motor Racing. Liberty, OTOH is simply a Media Company, interested in selling sponsorship and Advertising.
Your oblique reference to Mr Clarkson & his acolytes brilliantly highlights this distinction."

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2. Posted by Editor, 12/01/2019 12:44

"Max?

Obi?

You there?"

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3. Posted by YuppieScum, 12/01/2019 12:30

"Editor,

Thanks - maybe we should turn it into an article :)"

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4. Posted by Editor, 12/01/2019 11:11

"@ YuppieScum

Post of the year... thus far."

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5. Posted by YuppieScum, 12/01/2019 11:05

"Ro,

F1 already has a mandatory tyre stop due to the rule that a car must run with two different compounds during a race (barring "change of climatic conditions"). This rule was brought in at the demand of Bridgestone when they became sole tyre supplier, on the basis that otherwise they'd get very little mention (read "advertising") during commentary.

You need to also remember that "whole race tyres" has already been tried, back in 2005. This idea only lasted one season as everyone - teams and fans - complained about (a) dull races and (b) safety (lack of).

The idea that current tyres "don't let drivers push 100% like they used to" has *never* been true in the modern era, and probably never true at all. It's just that back then we didn't *know* that a driver was managing his tyres, or indeed his fuel or oil temperature. Our demand to know more, to have all the information so we can feel closer to the action is why we now know a driver is having to back off to save tyres/fuel/engine/gearbox.

A tyre *cannot* give 100% grip at racing speeds over a whole race - grip and longevity are diametrically opposed goals. Added to that is "the faster you go, the faster a tyre will wear out," a truism that has made motor racing exciting ever since there was motor racing.

What makes for an interesting race is the unexpected - the successful overtake, the unsuccessful overtake, the early tyre stop, the late tyre stop, the rain, the seagull...

Unfortunately, Liberty Media seem to want to force the unexpected, which never works. No-one wants to see scripted "improvised" comedy or, indeed, the Top Gear India Special. Trying to plan the unexpected leaves you with something no-one wants to watch.

"

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6. Posted by Ro, 11/01/2019 18:48

"You are kidding! Media Liberty wants forced tyre stops? what next, the driver has to get out and run around the car and then get back in? Just change the cars and make tyres that last the whole GP. If this idea is passed thru its the end of F1"

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