Pirelli: Teams wanted to keep fixed tyre allocation in 2022

Alpine F1 Team, Pirelli tires 14.12.2021. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
© XPB 

Formula 1 won't see a return this year to the system whereby teams decide each driver's allocation of tyres for each race weekend, according to Pirelli's head of motorsport Mario Isola.

Teams were originally given that flexibility in 2016, but it was stopped in 2020 due to the outbreak of coronavirus which resulted in short-notice changes to the calendar requiring a rapid response on the part of F1's exclusive tyre provider.

Teams now receive the same tyres for all drivers. A standard weekend sees each driver receive 13 sets of slick tyres to cover practice, qualifying and the race consisting of two sets of the designated hard compound, three of the medium and eight of the soft.

Although the COVID situation looks much calmer for 2022, Pirelli doesn't expect a quick return to the flexible allocation system this season - and says that this is the decision of the teams rather than the French tyre manufacturer.

“We had to find this solution for the pandemic to be quicker in reaction,” Isola said at Pirelli's pre-season launch event in Monaco on Tuesday.

“But then the teams came back to us saying actually the system is quite good, we want to keep it for the future. So it was not our decision at the end to continue with this fixed allocation.”

"It's the same for everybody so there is no advantage for one or the other. They can start planning on this fixed allocation instead of spending time and resources and people to think about one set more of medium, or one set less of soft."

The introduction of new 18-inch tyres this year also makes it difficult for teams to make informed decisions about the tyres they'll need until they're actually on site and hitting the track.

"In 2020 they said we want to continue [with fixed allocations] for 2021. In 2021, with the new product for 2022, nobody was confident in deciding on the compounds and breakdown and so they want to continue.

Pirelli tires   09.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

“I don't know if in 2023 they will want to change, but for the moment this is the answer.”

Although this year's new compounds were tested by teams during 2021 using modified 'mule' cars, they won't get a proper run until the first pre-season test at Spain's Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in February.

However, Isola said that based on the post-season test at Abu Dhabi the new tyres exhibited "less overheating", allowing drivers to push harder.

They will also be less likely to 'fall off a cliff' this year, with Pirelli wanting to use this season to ensure that the new-size tyres are working properly before refining them further in 2023.

"We had to develop a completely new product, a new range of compounds [for the] the 18-inch tyre," he explained. "We are talking about seven different products - we have five compounds for the slick, one intermediate and one wet.

"In a busy season with all the constraints and 22 races it was I believe a big achievement," he added. "This tyre is designed in a different way with different targets.

"We had to design a new profile, new construction, optimise the footprint, design a new range of compounds. It is a completely new product with a new approach.

"We gave priority and focus on achieving these targets in reducing the overheating, reducing the degradation, achieving this delta lap time and so on.

"The cliff is still something that happens when you have high wear, but it was not one of the targets on the 18-inch tyre," he said. "It will be for the future if we confirm in 2022 that we have this need.

"But for the moment this is the situation."

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