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One-stoppers shouldn't be an issue, insists Pirelli

NEWS STORY
26/01/2022

While the majority of races are looking likely to be one-stoppers this season, Pirelli's Mario Isola believes improved track action will more than make up for this.

Other than the 'will he, won't he' Lewis Hamilton saga, F1 bosses are also no doubt holding their collective breath over the success of this season's rules overhaul.

The desire to level the playing field and open up the opportunities for podiums, wins and eventually title(s) to more teams has been one of the cornerstones to its efforts ever since Liberty Media took control of the sport in 2017.

Indeed, as it now seeks someone to take the sport off its hands - hopefully for more money than it originally paid - improved racing could be one of the main selling points.

Among the numerous changes is the long-awaited switch to 18-inch tyres, which, we are promised will allow drivers to push harder with less overheating and degradation.

However, that presents its own problem, for less degradation means fewer pit stops indeed, Pirelli is already predicting that the majority of races this season will be one-stoppers.

In recent times, tyre strategy, as teams ponder the undercut or overcut, has become one of the staples on Sunday afternoons, but Pirelli boss, Mario Isola is convinced that if the on-track stuff is as good as anticipated the lack of pit stops won't make a difference.

"I hope we don't have less strategic variabilities," he says, according to Motorsport.com. "The idea and the way in which we have designed the tyres is to continue to have different strategies, with a mix of one and two stops.

"It's true that with a new product with less degradation, it is possible that we will have less pit stops and the majority of races could be one stop," he adds. "However, for me, it is not an issue as long as we have good races and action on track.

"If we have drivers that can push for an overtake, and when overtaking is too easy, it's not good, it is important that drivers are putting a lot of effort in to overtake. That is exactly what spectators want.

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

Other than that survey, in approaching its task Pirelli sought input from the drivers.

"This tyre is designed in a different way, with different targets," says Isola. "Drivers are asking for less overheating, and less degradation. They want to push on tyres, they want to fight on track. We decided, and we agreed with the FIA, FOM, and the teams, to follow this direction. So we had to design a new profile, a new construction, optimise the footprint, and design a new range of compounds. It is a complete new product with a new approach."

Nonetheless, just in case things don't go to plan and that "new approach" doesn't work, Pirelli is already planning for 2023.

"I hope we don't have a lot of difficulties. I believe that we are already planning a 2022 development campaign, as we never stop the development, to be ready in 2023 with an upgraded version. If, for example, this year we find that we have to change, maybe one compound, or the delta lap time is not exactly what we expect, or the level of degradation is not exactly what we expect, we have a back-up plan to be sure that we move closer to the targets, and we achieve the targets for 2023."

However, like the rest of us, Pirelli is anticipating the coming season and the impact of the various new rules, and Isola remains confident.

"These targets, of delta lap time and degradation and so on, have been decided around the table. So we believe that with these numbers, with the simulation, we have better racing. Yes, maybe less pit stops, but more action on track.

"But these are assumptions that we have to validate on track. And, if for any reason, we need to change something for 2023, we are ready again with these working groups."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Egalitarian, 28/01/2022 5:12

"I would like to see tyre stops as optional, not mandatory. And the idea of more than 1 compound (dry weather) per race doesn't sit well either.
@hobgoblin and @elsiebc - I understand what you are both saying. There is a sweet spot there. Passing should never be almost impossible and possibly dangerous, nor should it be a walk in the park. It should be work and sometimes difficult. Or left to team managers to provide orders...
I was kind of hoping that the 2022 technical rules could overcome any need for DRS but the artifice discussion is for another thread."

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2. Posted by kenji, 27/01/2022 0:29

"Surely it's all down to driver team as to how hard they can push and the advantages in doing so relevant to the tyre that they've chosen. There seems to be nothing stopping teams making multiple stops if they so desire so once again it's up to the teams to work out their own individual strategies."

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3. Posted by elsiebc, 26/01/2022 16:38

"When the strategies become the same with everyone on one-stops, I predict that someone will float the revolutionary idea of allowing teams to run different fuel loads and refuel their cars."

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4. Posted by elsiebc, 26/01/2022 16:34

"@Hobgoblin Actually I stopped watching Superbikes because passing was too easy. It seemed to me that you wanted to be in second place about two corners from the checker and that gave you the win.
"

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5. Posted by Hobgoblin, 26/01/2022 12:57

"Personally I don't see a problem with 'overtaking [being] too easy' having watched Superbikes swapping positions multiple times in a single lap. Way more exciting than a procession of cars that may or may not be able to overtake this lap..."

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 26/01/2022 12:08

"I've no problem with fewer tyre-changes - the element of pot-luck that tyre-changing can introduce can bring F1 into disrepute, after all.

It would be great if the new Regs do actually help the Racing and that races are decided more by the speed of the driver\car package than factors to do with arcane rules relating to tyres.....

As to this notion of "levelling the playing field", it seems to me to be both inimical to the whole rationale of Formula One & ultimately ineffectual. The simple truth is that if you pursue excellence then some Drivers & Teams are always going to be better than others - hopefully not always the same Teams....
Mercedes, Ferrari & RBR are always likely to do better than Haas, simply because of greater resources, finance & focus (yes I know there's a cost-cap). The ultimate expression of such "levelling" measures is something like Indycar or BTTC where car-design & development is extensively constrained & standardised. Even then there is a cluster of teams who always seem to excel."

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