Testing their 2022 tyres at the Barcelona circuit, Pirelli boss Mario Isola said they are “80-90%” towards finalising their 2022 tyres.
Three teams – Alfa Romeo, Alpine and Red Bull – are putting in the laps at the Circuit de Catalunya this week as Pirelli continue evaluating their 2022 tyres.
Next season, Formula 1 will swap to 18-inch tyres with all the teams given an opportunity to do blind testing for the Italian tyre supplier.
To date, most of the testing has been concentrated on the construction of the tyres, with Isola saying they are “80-90%” there and have begun moving on to testing compounds.
“In terms of development, we are in the process of finalising the construction and the profile,” he told Autosport.
“I would say we are at 80-90%. The construction is finalised and now we are starting a test campaign on new compounds.
“We have a new compound we are already using, a C3 level that is working quite well.
“It is the first one of the new family of compounds we want to introduce for next year, with the characteristics that are required and were agreed in the target letter with the drivers.
“So, much less overheating. Obviously, we need to validate that when we will have the final version of the cars.”
But with Formula 1 also introducing brand new cars next season, Isola concedes the current cars are not able to match the exact conditions the tyres will be under next season.
He explained: “At the moment, we are using mule cars that should be enough representative of the cars for next year. But we know next year’s cars will be very different.
“And the other point is that something we cannot test during a tyre development session is the influence of the slipstream. We have only one car or two cars that are running on track, there is not proper traffic.
“And so we can assume when we are designing a new tyre, a new tyre to reduce overheating. And also the new aero package should suffer less when they follow in the other car.
“They should keep the downforce, or lose a maximum of 10%. That is a completely different situation compared to what we have now, where they lose up to 50% of the downforce, and obviously they start sliding. But this is something we will have an answer only next year.”
“We asked the teams to put a level of downforce, a minimum weight and the weight distribution that is in line with the expectation for next year,” he added.
“So all the mule cars are good enough to test if they are able to replicate what will happen next year.
“But we have some differences, like I was talking about overheating for example, because obviously we are using the brakes that are on the cars now, not the new system, and also without rim covers that will affect the performance and the heating of the rim.
“So there are still some question marks on next year. What we are trying to do is to have cars that are as much as possible representative of next year’s performances.”