Pirelli: New tyre construction working as expected

Pirelli: The new tyre construction working as expected

Pirelli: New tyre construction working as expected

Pirelli introduced a new tyre construction at the 2023 British Grand Prix, and their Motorsport Director Mario Isola claimed the new tyres are working as expected.

The Italian tyre manufacturer and the sole supplier to Formula 1 were planning to introduce the new tyre compound in 2024, but the quick development of the new F1 cars introduced in 2022, meant more loads on the rubber, which made the an earlier debut of the tyre construction a necessity.

It also made sense to be done at Silverstone, a track infamous for the loads it puts on the tyres, with Pirelli suffering several failure at the British venue before.

Asked to reflect on the new construction’s first race, Mario Isola said: “Honestly, from our side it was good. I prefer races on two stop, but what’s important is that all three compounds have been used.

“If you look at how they have been used, it is exactly what we want,” he added. “That is to give three compounds where each car, each team, each driver can choose one or another depending on how severe a car is on tyres or the one that the driver prefers.

“Because we had, for example, McLaren on medium-hard, when a lot of other drivers switched from medium-hard to medium-soft after checking with Russell, who did a fantastic first stint on the soft, that the soft was better than expected.

“The soft was better than expected probably because of two elements,” Isola continued. “One was the cooler track temperatures – we had 15-degrees less than Friday. And clearly with the race pace you reduce the degradation on the soft. And the track evolution, for sure, [was the other factor].

“So, these two elements made the soft more usable, better, with manageable degradation. And most of them decided to switch onto a medium-soft strategy. Some others decided to stay on the medium-hard – I mentioned McLaren but also Ferrari. And the decision was probably supported by some other elements that the teams have in terms of how they use the tyres.

“Lando was second, so, he was right! When you are at the top, you are right!” the Italian engineer maintained.

No issues with the tyres at Silverstone whatsoever

Asked whether Pirelli faced any other issues with the tyres, Isola said: “The new construction was working as expected.

“It was supposed to be transparent and I believe it was transparent. Obviously, we don’t have a direct comparison with here because we didn’t have the old one. But, in Barcelona, it was clear and they had a proper comparison. It was clear that the new construction was transparent. It was also transparent during our tyre development tests.

“It’s an improvement because, despite the increase in loads, which we measured around 15%. 15% more load on the tyres compared to last year – [but] we used the same pressures. Thanks to the new construction, we didn’t have to increase the pressures. All these elements are the reason why I’m saying that from our side, the Silverstone race was ok,” he explained.

However, AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries suffered from a tyre failure during FP2, which brought back memories of Pirelli abrupt tyre failures at Silverstone, something the new construction was supposed to remedy.

But Isola clarified: “It was not a puncture. It was a broken rim. We thought it was a puncture or debris, but anyway when we checked it was a broken rim.

F1 launched a new tender for tyre supply, and Pirelli who are naturally applying might be facing competition from Bridgestone (F1’s tyre supplier between 1997 and 2010), who are reportedly participating.

In the previous tender, Pirelli faced a challenge from South Korean tyre manufacturer Hankook.

“I don’t know why it was broken. Maybe something was stuck between the rim and the brake. There was a clear mark on the circumference and obviously it was broken. It was debris braking the rim and not the tyre,” he declared.

Asked if he was satisfied with Pirelli’s British weekend, Isola said: “Yes. Because this gave us a bit more. We relaxed a bit because we know that the new construction is better in terms of resistance.”

(Reporting by Agnes Carlier)