Lewis Hamilton has pushed Pirelli Motorsport once again for better F1 tyres as Romain Grosjean adds that GPDA is involved in discussions.
Tyres have never been of insignificance in F1, but in 2020, they have been more problematic than they are consequential, as was demonstrated at not only the first race at Silverstone, but also to lesser degrees at various other races.
The current Pirelli compound has had its bad days, failing structurally at the aforementioned British GP, not long before proving themselves to be conducive to extreme wear and overheating at other races – the 70th Anniversary GP and the Spanish GP.
As a result of the current tyre’s shortcomings, some drivers and teams have complained to Pirelli, calling for a better tyre. One of them being Hamilton, who suggested that the current supplier’s 2021 offering be more resistant to overheating, which he says makes dirty air more costly. Eradicating this effect has been one goal of F1’s for many years now.
“I don’t remember what we’ve all discussed being our ideal tyre, but I mean naturally what they keep doing is making these cars bigger, heavier and therefore, it does make it harder I think for a tyre manufacturer,” said Hamilton to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Network, BBC, Reuters and more. “We have less testing.
“So there are a lot of obstacles. However, each year, I’m pretty certain every year we’ve had a tyre from Pirelli that’s not necessarily been what we’ve wanted as drivers. We constantly are complaining about overheating tyres. The greatness of what a F1 car is with the downforce but the fundamental issue is the turbulence from behind a Formula 1 car, which people watching don’t naturally see.
“So it’s probably a little bit difficult to understand why we don’t get closer. But you’re affected from a car head up to seven seconds of gap. And so mechanical grip is what we really, really need to try, whilst we have that downforce deficit, we need the best mechanical grip we can get and the best grip we can get from the tyres,” summed up Hamilton, who also added that he would like to see more pit stops in races.
Finding methods to manufacture tyre wear without excessively doing so has been one difficulty for Pirelli. “I think when they had the tyre war back in the day, they did have lighter cars,” added Hamilton. “But you had two companies pushing each other to the limit and at the moment, nobody’s pushing Pirelli except for us in what we say. But we have to be very careful because we don’t upset Pirelli.
“But we’re trying to be constructive and we sit down, talk to them. When we look at the last target letter, it was nowhere near… it had no input from the drivers and it was not what we had been asking for years. And so, trying to get to the root cause there is what the GPDA tries to do. That’s one of the reasons that I went to Paris when they were doing the Concorde Agreement just to try and help them, say ‘look, involve the drivers, we’re not working against you.
“We’re part of the sport and we want to help it be great, just as you do’. And I think they were really welcoming at that time and I think now they’re trying to make the tyre target agreement better. But, look, we’re coming to a year where we’ve still got the same tyres we had last year and it still has…I personally would like to do more stops. I think these one-stop races aren’t great. The hyper soft tyre we had was the best tyre we had in the sense of the grip that it gave us. So we want that grip for longer.
“We don’t want overheating so we can continue to push and thrash these cars around and get close to these drivers and pull off the manoeuvres which sometimes take us laps to do,” summed up Hamilton. On the top of GPDA, one of its directors, Haas’ Romain Grosjean acknowledged the step taken by the reigning F1 champion.
He stated that the drivers collectively put forward a request for better tyres moving forward, but he didn’t specify what out of a tyre they asked for. “First of all I saw the news, and I was very happy that Lewis brought the point forward and kept pushing to get a better product,” he said.
“We’ve had talks with Pirelli, I believe it was in Spain at the drivers’ briefing via Zoom call, and we’ve expressed our concern that we want better tyres, we want safer tyres, because we saw a couple of issues at Silverstone in the first race. I think yeah, wait and see, we’re pushing hard that we could have a better product.”
With the COVID-19 situation, Pirelli is forced to keep the same type of tyres for 2021 as well, where the 18-inch switch has been pushed to 2022. It will be third year in the cycle for the same type but the Italian manufacturer has been asked for some changes, which they are pushing towards – one reason why the prototype tyre test during free practice sessions has been delayed onto September races.
Here’s what Mario Isola from Pirelli had to state
Here’s latest on Haas regarding its line-up
Here’s more from Juan Manuel Correa and Anthoine Hubert tribute
[Note: FormulaRapida.net is on race by race accreditation from the FIA as our budget is not high enough for a permanent pass. In the unusual situation and decision from the governing body to not allow access for any of the grand prix to race by race sites, there is little way for us to get access for almost all of the races this year. We have friends in the F1 community who help us with material which we use and in addition to that, we have decided to use trusted and permanent media for quotes not available with due credit.]