Pirelli requested more testing on current-generation F1 cars, and as a result, in 2022, some FP2 sessions have been extended by 30 minutes in order to accommodate the Italian tyre supplier’s testing needs.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Isola revealed that a test planned after the weekend of the 2023 British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be crucial to decide whether or not the tyre blanket ban will be implemented.
The test at Silverstone will help plan the next steps
“Silverstone is one of the races where we have two days of testing after the race,” he said. “And the idea is that after Silverstone, we will analyze the data, and we will analyze the situation together with the teams, the FIA and F1.
“Then we will decide if we can achieve the target for 2024 or if it is necessary to postpone it,” he added.
“I don’t have a clear feeling, and honestly it is difficult to make a prediction,” Isola went on. “I believe that it’s a target of everyone to go in this direction for sustainability, but clearly nobody wants to damage the show.
“I don’t want to say it’s an impossible target, because it is not an impossible target. But it’s a very big challenge,” the Italian admitted.
“My feeling is that people think that it was a much bigger challenge to move from 13-inch to 18-inch wheels, and that blankets are not an issue.
“But it’s not the same because F1 is a different championship. It’s the fastest series in the world and the one that is putting the highest level of energy into the tyres.
“When you have this energy, and you grow the pressure, you have compounds that have to work from a very extended range of temperatures and so on. It is difficult,” Isola maintained.
Drivers are not happy
The fact remains that a majority of teams would have to vote with implementing the ban on the blankets before the rule is changed.
But some drivers are not happy with this plan, especially Lewis Hamilton, who despite his continuous push for sustainability, believes banning the tyre blankets is a step too far.
“I think it’s dangerous,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com. “I’ve tested the no blankets, and there is going to be an incident at some stage. So, I think it is the wrong decision.
“You have to drive multiple laps to get the tyres to work. The whole argument is that taking away the blankets is going more sustainable and more green, but in actual fact we just burn more fuel to get the temperature into the tyres,” the Briton explained.
“The more concern is when you go out: you are skating around and it is very twitchy. If someone else is on tyres that are working, you can easily collide with them. So, it is a pointless exercise,” the seven-time F1 Champion concluded.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz agrees with Hamilton on the subject; he said: “I still don’t understand why F1 are moving away from blankets, because for me it makes no sense.
“You are burning more fuel, more tyres. Even on sustainability, I just don’t understand the philosophy. Also there are risks with these lower ride height cars.
“But it is a direction that F1, the FIA and Pirelli have decided to take, so we need to adapt I guess,” the Spaniard concluded.