Pirelli to look into 'wider working range' for 2020/21 tyres

McLaren MCL34 Pirelli tyre. 12.05.2019.
© XPB 

Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola has indicated that the Italian manufacturer is already looking into why Formula 1 teams are having such problems 'switching on' their tyres this season.

Isola said it was a mystery to the company as to why finding the optimal tyre temperature operating window had proved so elusive to teams in 2019, with Haas especially badly hit in the first races of the new season.

“We spend millions and millions to develop these cars and then they are out of the window and really cannot get going," Haas team principal Guenther Steiner complained this month.

"I'm not blaming it purely on Pirelli. I'm blaming it on us as well," Steiner added. "But in general this is not the right thing. We shouldn't be talking after the race, 'Did your tyre work or not?'"

While acknowledging the concerns, Isola felt it was unlikely to be true that the tyre operating window had been significantly altered over the winter off-season.

"If we talk about the width of the working window, and I heard some comments that this year it is narrower, it is difficult to confirm that,” Isola said in an interview with Motorsport.com this week.

He pointed out that the tyres now known as C3 and C4 were the same soft and ultrasoft compounds that Pirelli had supplied last season, while the C5 was very similar to last year's hypersoft.

"I don’t understand where we can say that it is a narrower window," Isola admitted. "Obviously the working range is a function of the compound, so with the same compound we have the same working range.

“We had a back-to-back comparison in Baku with some teams using the hyper versus the C5," he continued. "It is clear that the hyper had graining and the C5 had much reduced graining."

Mario Isola (ITA) Pirelli Racing Manager with Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal in the FIA Press Conference.

However one year-on-year change is that the tread thickness had been reduced which allows teams to use the compounds at higher temperatures.

And the C1 and C2 compounds are softer this year, in response to teams complaints that 2018 hard and medium compounds were of little use at most circuits.

But Isola said that there was clearly concern in the paddock over this year's compounds, and that Pirelli was duty bound to investigate the matter.

"Obviously I take any comments coming from the teams on board," he said. "[Whether the window is] narrower or not, they are asking for a wider working range.

"What is clear is that we have to work in the future to have a wider working range," he admitted.

"Obviously we are designing new tyres for 2020, and also for 2021 considering the plan to remove blankets. So we are changing the approach in how we design the compounds."

Isola added that Pirelli was already investigating new materials and ingredients designed to meet this objective in coming seasons.

"We will evaluate if we want to introduce something new for 2020 to test, also for 2021.”

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