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CIRCUIT DE BARCELONA-CATALUNYA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24: Pirelli tyre compounds during the Barcelona February testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday February 24, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

Pirelli: Non-blanket tyres raceable, drivers should adapt

CIRCUIT DE BARCELONA-CATALUNYA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24: Pirelli tyre compounds during the Barcelona February testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday February 24, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)
Pirelli insist, in light of the ramped up debate regarding Formula 1’s plans to ban tyre blankets, that their tested prototype tyres are ready to be raced.

The most recent test was conducted in Barcelona following the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix earlier in June, after which drivers like Charles Leclerc and George Russell insisted the conditions with high temperatures and rubbered-in track were not a good indication of the Pirelli prototypes designed to work without pre-heating by the electrical blankets.

But Pirelli have now hit back at drivers’ complaints, insisting the tyres are good enough to be races, according to the Italian company’s F1 chief engineer Simone Berra speaking to The Race.

“We consider the tyre raceable because otherwise, we would not have proposed it for the evaluation,” he said. “Yes, they are raceable. The first sector could be tricky but apart from that it’s OK.

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Drivers should have a different approach

“Obviously drivers need to think about the fact that not using the blankets is different than today, so they need to approach the out lap in a different way,” Berra ventured.

“In cold conditions, it could be trickier to bring the tyres up to temperature but it’s just a matter of doing the first portion of the lap [cautiously].

“In the first sector, generally we can see much more difference compared to other sectors because already sector 2 and 3 are in line with the lap times with the blankets, so it’s just a matter of managing the first few corners.

“But in terms of safety, I don’t see from the data any specific risk,” the Pirelli engineer insisted.

He explained: “You need to change the way you are driving in the first lap, you have to adapt the driving style to protect the tyres because you can generate graining if you push too much in the first corners and the tyres are not up to temperature.

“I respect driver opinion, that’s for sure, but obviously there will be differences compared to the old product and the [current] tyre management,” Berra concluded.