Driv­ers unite to de­mand bet­ter-per­form­ing tyres

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Years of com­plaints gain fo­cus as lead­ing driv­ers en­gage with For­mula 1’s tyre sup­plier to chase a high-grip fu­ture

Pirelli have agreed to look into de­sign­ing higher-per­for­mance tyres for 2017 af­ter the driv­ers made it clear they were un­happy with the cur­rent high-degra­da­tion rubber. The driv­ers’ views were rep­re­sented at a meet­ing of ma­jor stake­hold­ers at Pirelli’s Mi­lan head­quar­ters in early Fe­bru­ary, which was at­tended by Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, Nico Ros­berg, Kimi Räikkö­nen, Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, Daniil Kvyat, Valt­teri Bot­tas and Felipe Massa.

Also at the meet­ing were Pirelli chair­man Marco Tronchetti Provera, F1 supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone, FIA pres­i­dent Jean Todt, Fer­rari chair­man Ser­gio Mar­chionne, Mclaren boss Ron Den­nis and the heads of Mercedes, Red Bull and Wil­liams.

Be­fore the meet­ing, the driv­ers’ dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the cur­rent tyres had fi­nally been made pub­lic through the Grand Prix Driv­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Alex Wurz. He told the BBC the driv­ers wanted to “help and sup­port GPDA chair­man Alex Wurz has voiced the driv­ers’ de­sire for higher-grip tyres Pirelli to con­struct a tyre fit for max­i­mu­mat­tack rac­ing”.

He said the driv­ers wanted tyres that “al­low them to push and ex­tract ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble from th­ese ex­tra­or­di­nary race cars again, be­cause that's what F1 is about, the pin­na­cle of mo­tor rac­ing, which we all love.

“The driv­ers want to un­der­line very clearly that they would love Pirelli to pro­duce a tyre that goes faster around cor­ners as well as be­ing safe. If we get sticky tyres, we will have happy driv­ers, and happy driv­ers mean au­then­tic and hon­est per­for­mance, pure mes­sage for the prod­uct and driv­ing the cars to the max­i­mum.

“That’s what we want and, ac­cord­ing to the fan sur­vey we did last year, that’s what all the fans ex­pect.”

Wurz’s com­ments, and the sub­se­quent in­volve­ment by the driv­ers at the meet­ing, mark a sea-change af­ter years of muted dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Pirelli’s tyres. Th­ese have to be man­aged care­fully to avoid go­ing be­yond a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture thresh­old. If tyres ex­ceed this tem­per­a­ture, their per­for­mance never comes back. The driv­ers have never liked th­ese char­ac­ter­is­tics, but have only oc­ca­sion­ally voiced dis­sat­is­fac­tion af­ter be­ing warned to air their views only in pri­vate.

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