Pirelli ex­press doubts over 2017 tyre re­mit

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Formula 1’s tyre sup­plier claim test cars be­ing used to eval­u­ate 2017 rub­ber lack suf­fi­cient down­force to mimic real con­di­tions

Pirelli have ex­pressed con­cerns about the speed of the cars be­ing used for 2017 tyre test­ing as doubts linger as to whether they will be able to full their obli­ga­tions next sea­son.

Pirelli will be re­quired to pro­duce tyres on which driv­ers can push at-out for the ma­jor­ity of a race, and which do not suf­fer ir­re­triev­able ther­mal degra­da­tion if pushed hard. Th­ese re­quire­ments were set out in a tar­get let­ter re­quested by Pirelli from the FIA as part of dis­cus­sions be­tween bosses, driv­ers and tyre sup­plier last win­ter, fol­low­ing dis­con­tent about the tyres sup­plied to F1.

Pirelli rac­ing man­ager Mario Isola has said he be­lieves the ‘hack cars’ pro­vided by Mercedes, Fer­rari and Red Bull for tyre test­ing to sim­u­late the per­for­mance lev­els of next year’s faster cars are “around 20 per cent” down on the amount of down­force ex­pected next year.

“The prob­lem of not hav­ing the down­force at the right level is you don’t stress the com­pound at the level that is re­quired and ex­pected for next year,” Isola said. “You eval­u­ate the degra­da­tion, which is prob­a­bly not the right one be­cause when the per­for­mance and down­force is in­creas­ing, you have higher degra­da­tion. That’s why we are work­ing with the teams to have a car that is able to gen­er­ate more down­force.”

Isola added: “We’re work­ing with them to have cars that are re­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive of next year’s con­di­tions so we can pro­vide a tyre that is in line with the ex­pec­ta­tion and data col­lected in this year’s test­ing.”

Some team in­sid­ers have ques­tioned whether Isola’s re­marks are in­tended to lay the ground for ex­cuses if the tyres do not man­age to meet re­quire­ments in 2017.

The main aim of the new rules is to pro­duce cars that are up to ve sec­onds per lap faster than their 2016 coun­ter­parts. But so far this isn’t go­ing to plan, since it has emerged that the fastest lap time set by Fer­rari at their tyre test in Barcelona in early Septem­ber would have qualied them on the back row of the grid for this year’s Span­ish Grand Prix.

In­sid­ers have cau­tioned against read­ing too much into lap times at th­ese tests be­cause of the re­stric­tions that have been placed on the cars be­ing used. For a start, they are heav­ier than the cars that will be used in 2017. Ad­di­tion­ally, the en­gines be­ing used are last year’s and have been de­tuned to en­sure they do the re­quired mileage. And nally, the front wings do not work as they are ex­pected to work in 2017.

One se­nior en­gi­neer from a high-prole team re­marked that Pirelli should be given time to pro­duce the tyre de­manded of them “be­cause th­ese are their rst ef­forts and they don’t know how to do it yet”.

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