Sainz warns of ‘large gap’ between tyre compounds

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz tests the Ferrari F1-75. Barcelona February 2022

Carlos Sainz putting in the laps in the Ferrari F1-75 at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022

The performance gap between Pirelli’s five compounds is wider than ever this season, that’s according to Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

The up side to that being that it could “mix up things” during the grands prix.

Formula 1’s all-new cars and their 18-inch Pirelli tyres were in action at the Circuit de Catalunya last week for a three-day group shakedown.

While most of the drivers had previously run the larger tyres on mule cars, taking part in various Pirelli tyre tests last year, the Barcelona outing was their first opportunity to experience them with the new ground effect aerodynamic cars.

The top six on the overall timesheets went two-by-two for the compounds with the fastest two times set on the C5s, the softest of the five tyres.

The C4s next in line and some four-tenths slower, followed by the C3s which were a further two tenths off the pace.

“There looks to be also quite a big step from compounds, which is something as in the last few years, for example, the C2, C3 and C4 were all very close to each other,” said Sainz.

“And here there seems to be, at least around Barcelona, quite a big step in grip from one compound to another.

“So it could maybe mix up things in races a bit. So in that sense some extra differences there compared to last year.”

Although the Spaniard only spent a day-and-a-half out on track last week, he was one of the busiest drivers last season when it came to testing the new Pirelli tyres.

All the teams apart from Williams played a part in the data-gathering across Pirelli’s 28 days of testing.

Sainz said: “I did quite a bit of testing last year, I think I did three or four days in total with the compounds.

“And they look like they are suiting well this new generation of cars, and they look to be at least allowing you to push a bit more on them.

“And compared to other years, maybe a bit less overheating, a bit less deg, but there’s still deg, they’re still a tyre that degrades a tyre that overheats, but the scale of it for me personally, I feel like it’s a bit better.

“And the work done by Pirelli last year and the development seems to start to pay off a bit.”

But while Sainz is wary of the time gap between the five slick compounds, Pirelli believe they have eradicated the crossover when it comes to their wet and intermediate tyres.


Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola said that one of the reasons Pirelli asked for the Barcelona circuit to be drenched on the final afternoon of the shakedown was to “evaluate the crossover time between wet and intermediate and intermediate to slick.

“The crossover time is really important to be sure that there is an overlay between two products and not a gap,” he said.

“A gap is dangerous, you donā€™t have any tyres that is suitable for that condition and we want to avoid that.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Sainzā€™s word of warning over new Pirelli tyres

Carlos Sainz has given a word of warning over Pirelli's new tyres.