Hamilton: Pirelli tyres ‘way too inflated’

Date published: February 29 2020

LewisHamiltonPA

Lewis Hamilton has criticised Pirelli’s tyres, saying they are now “way too inflated” and that they must be pushed to do better.

Pirelli planned to introduce a new construction for their 2020 tyres after criticism that finding the operating window of their 2019 rubber was too difficult, but after extensive testing, teams unanimously rejected the new compounds.

This meant that the 2019 versions remained, but the increased performance of the cars means the tyre pressures had to be increased. Pirelli also brought special front tyres for teams to test during the second week of pre-season testing designed to cope with the banked corners of the reprofiled Zandvoort circuit.

But Hamilton isn’t too pleased with the tyres for 2020, saying they are now “way too inflated”.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “They brought 2020 tyres, which were worse. It’s easier for us to go into another season with the same tyres.

“The fact that they pump them up more isn’t so great because they looked fine last year, but they’re definitely way too inflated.

“I think we just need to make sure that we always want to be working with the best technology, the best technology partners moving forwards.

“We’re just going to keep on pushing them to try to do better, and these tyres will be OK for this year.”

18-inch tyres are coming to F1 in 2021, and Hamilton says it’s very important for the quality of racing that a better aero philosophy is matched with better tyres from Pirelli.

“The race is what needs to improve – Reduce aero and give us better tyres. That’s a very, very important line there: we need better tyres,” he stressed.

“We’ve been talking for years and years and years and years about tyre degradation, thermal degradation, and we sat in the meeting room with Pirelli in Brazil and they had never heard of the thermal degradation. They said, ‘This is the first we hear about it!’

“We’re trying to communicate with them better. The target letter, I don’t know who’s written it this year but they obviously didn’t do a good job for the 2020 tyres. But I hope for 2021 that we have a better target and one that they’re able to meet or a manufacturer is able to meet.”

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