Pirelli Motorsport chief Mario Isola noted that they have already had a target letter from F1 teams and FIA about the tyres for 2022, when they switch to 18-inches.
The 2022 F1 season will not just see a change how the cars will look and perform, but the tyres will change from 13-inch to more road-friendly 18-inch compounds. The testing for those has already begun, with Pirelli almost set with how the construction will be.
The combined click and wet tyres test with the mule car has been promising as per Pirelli F1 chief Isola, so much so, that they are assessing to finalise the types of compounds. There’s still more tests to be done, with nine out of 10 teams to run in all.
As they work through their programme, Isola revealed that Pirelli has already got a defined target letter from the FIA after consultation with the F1 teams. The biggest point seems to be that the tyres is expected to be less degrading from 2022 onward.
“The new target letter is just stating that we have to design a tyre with less degradation,” said Isola. “The numbers of degradation are in the target letter, the data lap time is defined in the target letter. Pirelli have to focus on compounds with a wider working range and to reduce the overheating.
“These are the main parameters that are interesting to know that there are some other technical characteristics but mainly this is a summary or what we agreed. Obviously the degradation cannot be zero for all the compounds because otherwise there is no reason to have strategies with more than one stop or using different compounds so we have to look at those targets and try to design compounds with these characteristics.
“What I can tell you is that during our tyre development tests, we obviously measure the degradation and we ask the drivers to push each lap, to simulate what will happen next year and the results are very promising. Then next year we will have different cars and we have to validate the results on the new cars but the results so far are promising.”
When pressed on to elaborate on the ‘promising tests’, Isola added: “I’m using the word promising just because the development is still ongoing and we haven’t finalised the product for next year yet but the numbers that we collect from test sessions are in line with the target letter. That is why… we saw some others in which we can improve and we are working around that.
“Obviously Pirelli have to design five compounds to race on 23 different circuits so we need to collect more data in different circuits with different cars to be one hundred per cent sure that we are on the target. How can we produce tyres with these characteristics? We had to completely change the approach.
“We have to redesign the compounds and we are talking about introducing a new family of compounds with different ingredients and also in terms of construction, we have designed a construction with some characteristics that are going in the direction of reducing degradation and overheating.
“If we want to say that the overheating or the thermal sensitivity will be zero, I tell you that that is impossible from a physical point of view so forget the possibility to have a tyre with zero overheating or zero degradation that in any case is not in the target but we can heavily reduce it and the challenge for us is to produce a tyre with these characteristics.”
Talking about the completed tests, Isola felt good about the slick tyres with the amount of running so far. With just the two wet tests, he felt the intermediate seems in a good shape, but they still need more data on the wet compound, which is work in progress.
Also, using the mule cars is all good, but Isola agreed that it still doesn’t give the full picture of once the actual cars are on track during the pre-season test in 2022. He added that by that time, the tyres will be freezed and only if there is an emergency demand to change, they will be able to do so, after it has been agreed for it.
Isola is confident of good tyres in 2022 and the data from that will help Pirelli to better the product for 2023. Before that, they are waiting to see how next year pans out, with the new cars and heavier machines – the load will be high on the freshly made tyres.
“This is true, it is not only the weight of the car that is stressing the tyre, it’s the level of downforce, the speed,” said Isola. “There are many parameters that we have to consider and obviously we are designing tyres for next year, keeping in mind all these numbers and also asking the teams that are providing mule cars, to give us cars that are representative of next year’s cars, even if they are mule cars but the weight is the same that is in the regulations for 2022, weight distribution, level of downforce also. Pirelli are designing tyres with these characteristics in mind. Obviously they are different compared to the past but that’s our job.”
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