Pirelli wants to scrap team tyre selection

18/05/2020
NEWS STORY

With the pandemic having effectively turned the 2020 season on its head, to alleviate the pressure of the revised calendar Pirelli is seeking to scrap the practice of teams selecting their tyres.

"If we have the first part of the season in Europe and then we move to Asia, and America, in a very short period, it means that for production, it will be quite a busy period," the Italian manufacturer's F1 boss, Mario Isola explained to Motorsport.com.

"We probably have to produce something in the region of 35,000 tyres in a couple of months, not in one year," he added, Pirelli having already been left with a major stockpile following the cancellation and postponement of the opening races. "You can imagine the impact on production. That is quite big.

"We are having discussion with the teams. And I have to say that they are quite flexible in order to find sensible solutions like, for example, a standard allocation or some flexibility in this respect to be ready to supply in a very short period of time."

At present, teams are required to give 8 weeks’ notice of their tyre choices for the European races and 14 weeks for the fly-aways.

In limiting the choices, Isola is convinced that this will not unduly effect the teams as they generally adopt similar strategies - as most hard-pressed fans are only too aware.

"I believe that it's feasible, considering that everybody's interested in restarting the season, and make everything possible in order to have the best solution," he said. "I don't see an issue with that.

"We are still happy to leave the choice to the teams, if it is possible," he added. "It depends on how much in advance we have the information of the events.

"I don't think that the standard allocation is freezing any different strategy, because you know that with the current system, we have some sets that have to be returned after each free practice and so on.

"We are not saying that each team has to return the same number of tyres or same type of tyres and so on," he explained. "They will have the same allocation at the beginning of the event, but then they can end up with a different allocation for qualifying and the race. That is what happens today.

"If I look at the last year, we had teams are choosing different sets of tyres, different compounds, but then they converge for qualifying and the race to have more or less the same allocation. I don't think there is a real issue with that."

While such a move would normally require the unanimous approval of the teams, due to the unusual situation the sport finds itself in the FIA recently mandated that a majority vote will now be accepted.

"For this year there is a bit more flexibility for the FIA to change the rules. It doesn't require unanimity," said Isola. "Obviously there is a flow, there is a system in place and it has to be respected. I believe that for urgent decisions, the World Council can also use the e-vote system as happening in the last couple of months for other decisions."

Of course, another option would be to scrap the rule whereby Pirelli dictates the three compounds to be made available and allow the teams to take their chances.

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Published: 18/05/2020
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