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F1 admits it got it wrong on tyres

NEWS STORY
19/07/2019

Most long-time followers of F1 will tell you that one its biggest problems in recent years has been the constant tinkering with the rules in a bid to produce the show the powers-that-be desired.

Exciting initiatives outlawed, new rules hurriedly rushed through at just the point there was stability and, in one of the most ludicrous moves, stipulating that Pirelli's tyres should deliberately degrade at a high rate.

While the Italian manufacturer insisted it could produce tyres that could last a whole race distance, the sport's powers-that-be stipulated that this isn't what they wanted, and in a bid to manipulate the racing to produce the show they desired called for tyres that would easily degrade, leading to the tyre management issue that has blighted racing in recent years.

Now, as the sport looks ahead to a massive overhaul in 2021, other than switching to 18 inch wheels, the sport is seeking tyres that will allow drivers to push harder and for longer.

"We want to have tyres that enable people to fight each other without degrading or only giving a short interval for the person attacking to attack," said the FIA's head of single seater technical matter, Nikolas Tombazis at this week's presentation of the blueprint for 2021. "What the current tyres are is a product of what has been asked of them, and I think we need to ask them to do different things to what they have been asked in the past."

"I think in the past we have maybe asked for the wrong things," admitted F1's chief technical officer, Pat Symonds. "It is a very complex problem, but it is something that we don't have a clear idea on yet.

"We are doing a lot of simulation," he continued, "and there are many things you can do, but we do believe that pit stops are important in F1. We know our fans enjoy these two/three seconds pit stops so we do want to have a level of pit stops. Perhaps an easy thing to do would be to have a Le Mans tyre that would go on and on and on but then we would lose the pit stops.

"I have spent a lot of time talking to some of the teams who are going to help us with this task through simulation, but it is a difficult one. I completely agree with Nikolas, we were asking completely the wrong things of Pirelli over the last few years. The high degradation target was not the way to go I think."

"As always our approach is to deliver what F1 wants," Pirelli's Mario Isola told Motorsport.com, "so if we have to modify the targets for 2021 we need to know quite soon because we are going to start the development of those tyres.

"If F1 wants to go to low degradation tyres, or to have bigger delta or any other idea, if it is feasible we are happy to go in this direction," he added.

Other than the timescale, he warned that to make real progress it would need the full cooperation of the teams and drivers.

"We have a research group with the F1 and the FIA, and we have had several meetings with them to understand which is the right direction," he said. "Then we need to involve the teams and drivers to be 100 percent sure we are going in the right direction.

"We need to involve the teams because they have specialists of strategy to understand if it is the right direction, and drivers because they drive the car and they know exactly what they want. It is important we are all on the same page."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by sagosac, 21/07/2019 21:35

"@Bill Hopgood: sounds better because simpler than current rule; whereby I believe that a majority of connoisseurs would rather vote for a more libertarian approach, like 2 manufacturers (at least) and they can bake together whatever they want, as long as no marbles litter and limit the racing lines in every single corner

[impossible scenario that you cannot find a second supplier]
[impossible scenario that sponsors do not line up; save sign that a sport is NOT in proper shape -- albeit there were 2 entertaining races (largely due to DRS)]"

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2. Posted by NS Biker, 21/07/2019 20:53

"And this took how long ...??
Note to Pirelli, I have their tyres on my car (second set of them too) and due to age and degradation (truly exciting in the rain) am finally going to replace them.
Since the F1 experience has influenced my thinking, very likely going to be another brand. Heck, not likely at all, definitely."

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3. Posted by Spartacus, 20/07/2019 0:41

"Yes, it was interesting that HAM was able to post the fastest lap on very worn tires at Silverstone but it seems that Mercedes is the only team that can really get the Pirellis to work well. The optimum tire temp range was throwing all the other teams off. I understand the reason why the FIA wants to have the tire size increased to 18" for current car tire size trends but the current chassis utilize the tire deflection and rebound to increase performance. The wheels will look enormous and transfer more heat to the wheel housing. Perhaps another challenge for all the teams to tackle."

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4. Posted by stackvideo, 20/07/2019 0:26

"So at last, the FIA have hired a rocket scientist."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 19/07/2019 22:22

"From my simple perspective they should let the tyre manufacturers (have more than one) make what ever product works best and have a rule that mandates that all three sets of tyres are used in a race.
There is such a weird situation now that sees two sets of the hards each go to a track and for most of the weekend the teams are on soft and medium. Race day sees them use the hard!
Why not limit them to nine sets of tyres each for the weekend all the same, three soft, three medium, three hard?"

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6. Posted by ZJAY, 19/07/2019 20:37

"Really "funny".

It took like 15 years for the "engineers" and "..." to overcome their intellectual arrogance and listen to what the fans have been saying on Pitpass since the "funny" concept of purposely developed degrading tires was introduced.

"

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7. Posted by GrahamG, 19/07/2019 20:30

"At last, after years of distorted, nonsense results due to tyres with stupid characteristics they have finally seen the light - its a motor race, not "who can get the tyres to work" race.
As the previous post says, Michelin must be laughing, not just from a motor racing point of view but the damage Pirelli have managed to inflict on their brand - many of us will never buy a Pirelli tyre again and regard Michelin's tyres in WEC as the benchmark of performance"

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8. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 19/07/2019 15:29

"Michelin must be laughing their socks off. Their stance of not being interested unless they could supply "real" race tyres is now being proved the right one. Don't blame Pirelli - unless you accuse them of not having big enough balls to have told Ecclestone the same thing before they got involved.
Formula One is supposed to have the best minds in the motorsport world, and yet they can not only come up with the ludicrous situation in the first place, but were all silent when it they should have been telling him it was a dead-end street? Just about every enthusiast knew it was the wrong way to go.

"

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9. Posted by Uffen, 19/07/2019 14:19

"Please also ask for tires that don't litter the corners with "marbles." Maybe then we could have some alternative paths around bends. This would help with overtaking. "

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10. Posted by imejl99, 19/07/2019 11:33

"I think in the past we have maybe asked for the wrong things, admitted F1's chief technical officer, Pat Symonds.

!

Maybe I forgot, but following F1 since before Hungaroring existed, this is the first?
If anything, regardless if personal opinion or official statement, I see this to be said out loud as a progress :)"

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11. Posted by Spindoctor, 19/07/2019 10:58

"Who would have thought it? Common sense, but will anyone listen?"

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