Formula 1 drivers were informed by Pirelli that they shouldn’t expect a tyre “revolution” for 2021 following critical comments over the compounds that were tested during Friday practice in Bahrain.
All drivers received two sets of the C3 compound to use throughout Friday, however drivers were disapproving of their performance.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who topped both practice sessions during the day, says Pirelli is “going backwards”, adding F1 is best suited to sticking to the current spec for 2021.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 Mario Isola admits he can understand the deprecatory comments, but says that teams were duly noted about the potential performance of the new tyres.
“Considering that we are not going to change the compounds – and obviously you cannot have a product that is a revolution if you don’t change the compounds – we decided, agreed and targeted a higher level of integrity for the 2021 tyres and therefore we have worked mainly on the construction,” Isola said.
“I can understand [the criticism] because consider that they are running cars that are optimised on the current tyre, since two years now,.
“They are the same tyres we used in 2019. So they have a level of confidence, of preparation, they are able to set up the current tyre that obviously is at the end of the life cycle.
“Every time you propose a new tyre, there are some criticisms, there is a change in balance. I heard a comment, I believe it was a team radio from Verstappen, saying that he was feeling some understeer.
“We warned the teams that with the new construction, they could have more understeer. We invited the teams to correct the set ups in order to re-balance the car.”
However, Isola has backed the teams to discover how to make the tyres work and extract performance from them during 2021.
“This is obviously something they will do next year, I’m sure they will find the way to balance the car and extract performance from the 2021 tyres,” he said.
“But they have been focused today mainly on collecting data rather than extracting the performance from the tyre.
“The driver feels the performance, not other elements. This morning was important for the teams to collect aero data, because the front profile is different.
“We decided not to change the rear profile to avoid changes in the design to the floor. But the front profile is different and for sure needs some adaptation, they have to adapt the car a little bit to the new product.”