Red Bull think return to 2018 tyres was needed

Date published: July 7 2019

Red Bull think Pirelli missed an opportunity to improve racing by keeping the 2019 tyre compounds.

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan believes Pirelli missed an opportunity to improve the spectacle of Formula 1 by sticking to the 2019 compounds.

A vote was held at the Austrian Grand Prix on whether to persist with the 2019-spec rubber or return to last year’s versions which have a thicker gauge.

Teams were split five-five, and with a majority of seven needed to push through a decision mid-season, the 2019 compounds remained.

The Honda-powered teams (Toro Rosso and Red Bull) along with the Ferrari-powered outfits (Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo) are believed to have voted for a return to the 2018 Pirelli rubber, while Mercedes, Renault, McLaren, Racing Point and Williams voted to keep the current tyres.

Returning to the 2018 tyres would likely aid Red Bull, though their reasoning was that they wanted to improve the appeal of Formula 1 to fans following Mercedes’ run of eight-consecutive wins at the start of 2019.

“It puts Pirelli in a slightly difficult position,” Monaghan told Crash.net. “They’re doing a decent job, they’re going to win every race, the tyres are surviving on the cars, and they’ve got to maintain their safety record.

“At the risk of being slightly controversial we would quite happily accept the 2018 tyres to come back. I don’t think the risk is as great as some perceive.

“It is about creating a show and I think we almost have to take a step back and take a slightly less team-centric position and turn around and say ‘well, if it would be better for the show, could the teams cope with it’ and our opinion is yes, we could.

“We accept there has been a majority vote not to do so but we hold a slightly different view to the majority then.”

The move to a thinner tread with the 2019 compounds was simply Pirelli following orders – it was a Formula 1 objective to increase degradation and reduce blistering.

However, the Ferrari-powered teams have often struggled to find the operating window of the new tyres, with Haas’ season falling apart due to being unable to make them work on the VF-19.

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