Pirelli “warned” the teams that its 2021 tyres would not be a revolution as they changed the construction, not the compound.
The Formula 1 drivers tested Pirelli’s 2021 tyres during Friday’s practice at the Bahrain GP, prompting a lot of negative comments.
Sebastian Vettel said they “were not a step forward, the opposite pretty much” and that he hoped “we don’t see these tyres again” while Lewis Hamilton believes “if that is the best they can do, which it clearly is, it would just be better to stay with” the current tyres.
Pirelli, though, says they told the teams that the tyres were never meant to be a “revolution”, instead they have just altered the construction to cope with next year’s higher downforce.
“Considering that we are not going to change the compounds – and obviously you cannot have a product that is a revolution if you don’t change the compounds – we decided, agreed and targeted a higher level of integrity for the 2021 tyres and therefore we have worked mainly on the construction,” Pirelli’s Head of F1 Mario Isola told Motorsportweek.com.
“I can understand [the criticism] because consider that they are running cars that are optimised on the current tyre, since two years now,.
“They are the same tyres we used in 2019. So they have a level of confidence, of preparation, they are able to set up the current tyre that obviously is at the end of the life cycle.
“Every time you propose a new tyre, there are some criticisms, there is a change in balance. I heard a comment, I believe it was a team radio from Verstappen, saying that he was feeling some understeer.
“We warned the teams that with the new construction, they could have more understeer. We invited the teams to correct the set ups in order to re-balance the car.”
New shoes! 👞 Teams are getting the chance to try some 2021 tyres in #FP1 @BAH_Int_Circuit as well if they wish (they have to use them in #FP2). These are easy enough to spot as they have no markings #F1 pic.twitter.com/XQBXB1tO36
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) November 27, 2020
Isola believes with time the teams will learn how to get the best out of the tyres.
“This is obviously something they will do next year, I’m sure they will find the way to balance the car and extract performance from the 2021 tyres,” he added.
“But they have been focused today mainly on collecting data rather than extracting the performance from the tyre.
“The driver feels the performance, not other elements. This morning was important for the teams to collect aero data, because the front profile is different.
“We decided not to change the rear profile to avoid changes in the design to the floor. But the front profile is different and for sure needs some adaptation, they have to adapt the car a little bit to the new product.”