Renault warned after Ricciardo tyre mix-up

Date published: October 23 2020

Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) during practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix

Renault have received a warning after using an erroneous tyre on Daniel Ricciardo’s car during the FP2 Pirelli 2021 prototype test at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The first 30 minutes of the Friday afternoon practice session was devoted to trialling the potential new tyres for next season, with all teams and drivers obliged to take part.

Each team was given three sets of the prototype tyres – from a selection of between eight and 10 different ones – for the half-hour test, with one driver running two sets and the other just one.

But it later emerged, via the stewards, that Ricciardo’s car had been fitted with an “incorrect left front tyre from a set of a different specification, which is an offence with no apparent sporting benefit to the team as the set in question was a development set”.

Nevertheless, even though no advantage had been gained, Renault, who acknowledged the error, were still issued with a warning under Article 12.3.1.a of the FIA International Sporting Code.

The mix-up occurred after Ricciardo was the Renault driver given two different sets of tyres to try, with a short run on each, while his team-mate Esteban Ocon was asked to do a long run on a single set.

However, as reported by Motorsport.com, Renault inadvertently swapped over the front left tyres of Ricciardo’s two sets, so the Australian did both runs with three tyres from one set and one from the other set of a different type.

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It meant that in running the mixed sets, Pirelli were unable to learn anything meaningful about next year’s tyres from Ricciardo’s car.

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola admitted it was easier to make a mistake with development tyres as they are not colour-coded.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t very useful because they made a mistake,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “Knowing what was the specification of Renault, we have to exclude these two sets from our analysis.

“It happens, because the prototypes are black without labels on the side. Obviously with the race tyres you have different colours, and you recognise immediately if you have three tyres that are white and one tyre that is yellow.

“With the prototypes, they have only the number of the set on the sidewall, not the colour, so it was a genuine mistake.

“It is clear that it is difficult to draw any conclusions from two sets that have been mixed, but it is what it is.”

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