Pirelli: 'No reason' to discard 2021 tyre despite criticism

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Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola has responded to the widespread criticism of the supplier's 2021 tyre, insisting there is "no reason" not to introduce the new-spec rubber next year.

All teams put the new tyre through its paces during Friday's opening day of running in Bahrain, but many drivers were left unimpressed by Pirelli's latest construction which Lewis Hamilton qualified as "heavier, slower and worse" than the company's current-spec rubber.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also felt the new product was not up to F1's standards and hoped it would ultimately be discarded.

But Isola offered a strong rebuttal to the criticism, insisting Pirelli had done its job to produce a tyre that provides better structural integrity while also underscoring the fact that Friday's test was not entirely representative.

"We discussed the introduction of the new tyre, together with the teams and together with the FIA, we explained the reason behind that, and we got the homologation from the FIA," explained Isola, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"And we took the opportunity to give the new specification to the teams in order to collect data and to have useful information on the tyres.

"We are not discussing about the possibility to go back to the current tyre. And to be honest, we don't want to go back to the current tyre, because we did our job, we made a tyre that is more resistant to integrity, that was the main target.

"This is why I don't think there is a reason to go back to the previous tyre. There is always a discussion, if I look back, every time we try to introduce something new, how can I say, some people are not happy.

"But there is a sort of natural resistance to changes in F1, and that's part of the job. I think that we have a specification that is an improvement, and there is no reason why we shouldn't introduce it next year."

While noting the negative feedback, Isola wanted more details from the drivers about their assessment.

"If there is opposition, I want to understand why there is opposition," he said.

"Because if the opposition is that there is a little bit less grip, as long as the tyres are the same for everybody, it's not a disadvantage for somebody.

"If the opposition is that there is a bit of understeer, they've just thought about the car.

“I can understand that, because I consider that they are running on cars that have been optimised on the current tyre since two years now, because they are the same tyre that they use in 2019," the Italian added.

"So they have a level of confidence, of preparation, and they are able to set up the car with the current tyre that obviously it's the end of the life cycle. And every time that you propose a new tyre, there is some criticism, there is a change in balance."

Isola said that Friday's test was about collecting data, not performance. And that teams would obviously need to fine-tune their car's set-up to the new tyre construction.

"They have been focussed today mainly in collecting data, rather than extracting the performance from the tyre. And the driver feels the performance, not other elements," he said.

"This morning was important for the teams to collect aero data, we saw some teams with the rack to collect that data, because the front profile is different.

"We decided not to change the rear profile to avoid changes in the design of the floor. But the front profile is different. And for sure, it needs some adaptation. They have to adapt the car a little bit to the new product."

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