Wolff weighs in on 2019 tyre issues

Date published: May 7 2019

Toto Wolff weighs in on 2019 tyre issues

With Pirelli introducing new treads this season, Toto Wolff says the tyres have a “wider” operating window but the teams still have to learn what it is.

There have been a few complaints about this year’s Pirelli rubber, most notably from Haas.

The American outfit feels the tyres are controlling the racing, taking over from the development of the cars.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is also struggling, saying the tyres are a “more dominating factor” than they have been in recent years.

Wolff, however, reckons it is just a case of learning about the new thinner treads.

The Mercedes motorsport boss said: “I think there’s actually a wider operating window [with the 2019 tyres] but I think it’s the usual learning slope.

“When you’ve had a tyre for a long time, all your data and all your simulations are based around a certain compound and a certain structure.

“Then suddenly the tread changes from one year to the other, all your learning is basically not so relevant anymore.

“It’s also about adaptability, the team that learns quickest to understand the new circumstances.”

But while Mercedes seem to have the edge over their rivals when it comes to finding the sweet spot, Wolff insists sessions such as final practice for the Azerbaijan GP prove they are also still learning.

“We didn’t do anything different, we just didn’t have the tyre in the window,” said Wolff.

“Then it was also about seeking the right compromise between qualifying and the race.

“[In the race], Max Verstappen was the quickest guy on track at the end, [then there was a] virtual safety car, the tyre doesn’t come back and he’s struggling to put heat in the tyre and generate grip.

“He came on the radio saying ‘I have no grip’.

“That is the science where every team gradually progresses and tries to understand their performance better.”

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