Illustration for article titled Whats Going On With Pirellis Tires For The 2021 Formula One Season?

Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace (Getty Photos)

Pirelli is struggling. System One drivers had an opportunity to check the totally different compounds for the 2021 tires in the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix apply classes, and, in the mean time, the prognosis isn’t good. In truth, it looks like we’ve a redux of the 2020 placeholder compound, which was virtually universally hated. What the hell is occurring?

Pirelli is making a fairly large change as we head into F1. Subsequent season’s tires will likely be 18 inches, however it was alleged to be be accompanied by a fairly important quantity of testing. We’re speaking 25 days of testing simply to verify these dangerous boys are able to go for subsequent 12 months.

As with most issues, although, that plan was placed on maintain as a result of coronavirus pandemic. Which suggests groups have been just about rolling blind into the Bahrain apply classes.

A number of the sport’s key drivers are unimpressed, although. Lewis Hamilton had a hell of loads to say, regardless that he tried to chew his tongue:

We’ve had the identical tire for the final two years. On the finish of 2019 they introduced a brand new tire, which they usually do. And it was fairly a bit worse. So then they only mentioned, ‘Okay, nicely now we simply hold the tire that we had from final 12 months.’

So that they’ve had two years now to develop a greater tire. And we’ve arrived with a tire that’s three kilos heavier. And it’s like a second worse per lap.

And I do know for the followers, that doesn’t actually make any distinction. From a driver viewpoint, we’re working with manufacturers and companions who’re on the forefront of expertise, and elevating and shifting forwards.

And should you’re going again after two years of growth, I imply, I don’t know what’s taking place. So it undoubtedly doesn’t really feel good on the market. And it’s a fear.

I choose to simply keep on these tires. If that’s all they’ve obtained, and that’s the perfect they will do, which it clearly is, we’d be higher simply to stick with this tire.

Crimson Bull Racing driver Alex Albon agreed however had much less to say: “They’re gradual, and they’re probably not very grippy. I reckon they have been over a second off what we’ve now, which doesn’t bode too nicely. We’ll see the way it goes.”

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo famous that he thinks Pirelli is attempting to make the tire structurally safer however that they felt “weaker so there’s a bit much less grip.”

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was one other driver with some harsh phrases. “They weren’t a step ahead,” he mentioned. “The alternative just about. Probably price a shot, however I hope we don’t see these tires once more. They’re quite a bit worse in comparison with the tires that we at present run.”

When requested whether or not he’d moderately follow the 2019 tires or upgrade, he added the next:

If that one is the one possibility for ‘21, then completely, I might love to stay with the ‘19 tires.

I believe so long as we don’t have a tires that offers us something that the present one doesn’t give, similar to much less overheating, or a greater likelihood to struggle one another, we shouldn’t get onto a distinct tyre.

This one is worse for positive, and it’ll make all the issues that we wrestle with already solely worse.

Pirelli is defending the tires, with its head of racing Mario Isola noting that groups got honest warning that the brand new compounds weren’t going to be good proper from the get-go:

I can perceive [the frustration] as a result of take into account that they’re operating automobiles which can be optimized on the present tire, for 2 years now. They’re the identical tires we utilized in 2019. So that they have a degree of confidence, of preparation, they can arrange the present tire that obviously is on the finish of the life cycle.

Each time you intend a brand new tire, there are some criticisms, there’s a change in stability. I heard a remark — I imagine it was a group radio from (Max) Verstappen—saying that he was feeling some understeer. We warned the groups that with the brand new development, they might have extra understeer. We invited the groups to right the setups so as to re-balance the automotive.

Principally, Isola’s argument is that this was merely a check session for the tire development, to make it possible for the compound was working. The entire aim was to gather information. The groups might acquire information on the dealing with of the tires which might then be utilized to the event of subsequent 12 months’s automotive. Pirelli might acquire information about tire put on, temperature, and extra.

It’s honest of him to notice that the 2020 automobiles really feel unusual on the 2021 tires as a result of the automobiles aren’t optimized for that gear. It’s additionally fairly affordable to anticipate groups will make some design adjustments to accommodate the brand new compound.

It seems like the large problem right here is the truth that groups obtained little or no say within the general growth course of resulting from COVID-19. Their first actual check session got here on the finalized compound simply days earlier than December and about three months out from pre-season testing. At this level within the 12 months, most groups can have a powerful 2021 prototype developed. Throwing in some model new, differently-functioning tires messes with the info that’s already been collected.

Principally, it simply seems like each events obtained the quick finish of the stick, and neither is comfortable about it.