Pirelli Formula 1 boss Mario Isola has defended the company’s 2021 tyres as drivers voiced their concerns after running them in practice ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.
Isola insists there is “no reason” not to pursue the plan to introduce the new tyres next season, despite multiple world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel suggesting that the current construction should be kept for a third season.
All teams ran the new tyres, which feature a more robust construction designed to deal with rising downforce levels, in FP1 and FP2 at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“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,” said Isola when asked by Autosport if it was still possible to keep the current tyres next season.
“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.”
Isola stressed that it was inevitable that drivers would not feel comfortable with the new tyres fitted to cars that were designed around the current tyres.
“I can understand that, because I consider that they are running on cars that have been optimised on the current tyre for two years now, because they are the same tyre that they use in 2019,” he said.
“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 also pointed out that improved performance was not the target for the new tyres, and that the Bahrain running was not representative as it was a test for the teams.
“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 added.
“This morning was important for the teams to collect aero data, we saw some teams with the rake 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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