Pirelli believes tyres can last two more seasons

Jamie Woodhouse
All drivers to get standard tyre allocations.

All drivers to get standard tyre allocations.

Pirelli are confident that the current tyres can hold out for two more years thanks to the downforce-limiting measures.

With the new regulations and therefore 18-inch tyres pushed back until 2022, it means that the same tyre design will have to stay suitable for three seasons.

It’s a situation that came about after teams rejected the 2020 spec tyres and chose to stay with the 2019 version, and then the one-year delay to the new rules has increased that period to three years.

Pirelli usually design new spec tyres for each season to meet the expected downforce levels that teams will reach come the end of the season.

But the Italian company are confident that the current tyres will last after the regulations were tweaked for 2021 to control the amount of downforce being produced by cars.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Pirelli’s Formula 1 boss said: “We should start 2021 with downforce which is in line with the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.

“So we step back one year, or close to. The idea was exactly this, to plan a reduction in downforce in order to make the 2019 tyres last until the end of 2021, without increasing the pressure too much, because increasing pressure means that we go towards the issue of overheating and degradation.

“And we know the drivers are not happy with that, and that is why we have worked together with the FIA and the teams in order to find a solution.

“At the beginning many different options were on the table, but then it was decided that the best one was to work around the floor. That makes sense considering that we are probably going to lose the amount of downforce that they develop during the season.

“This is a very unique season, so it’s difficult to understand how much development there will be, but together with the floor change we also have the restrictions on aerodynamic tests, and the fact that this season will be very much concentrated, so they can develop the car in a short period time.”

A further change to the regulations means that Pirelli can test multiple prototype tyres during the upcoming season, and it will be mandatory for teams if Pirelli request it.

“The idea was to proceed step-by-step,” Isola said.

“Our first request was anything that could limit the performance in 2020, or that can go one step back in 2021.So starting with less downforce in 2021 obviously is helping the tyre.

“We can react with a higher pressure, but if we have help with the regulations, obviously it is better.

“Now we have the confirmation of the change of regulation, and now that the teams have restarted work, we can ask them to prepare some additional simulations on the expected performance for the end of 2020 and for the end of 2021.

“We can then decide if we need to plan any test or not. It was important to put it in the regulations, because when the season starts, it’s too late to discuss this kind of stuff.”

The last 30 minutes of FP2 has been designated as the period when those tyre tests can happen and teams would not be allowed to carry out any other running during that time.

Isola said it was important to add that detail due to the unrepresentative running which happened during free practice for the United States GP last year.

“The idea is to have if necessary half an hour in FP2 that is dedicated to tyre testing,” he explained.

“We don’t have the obligation to supply the same prototypes to everybody, we don’t have to supply two sets, so we can basically use this freedom to make this test more relevant.

“You remember last year the test in Austin was not really relevant? So learning from the experience, we have now this new situation.

“This is not a replacement for tyre development tests, because for next year we are planning to have our 25 days of testing for 18-inch tyres.”

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