Pirelli feeling vindicated by initial test feedback

Formula One tyre provider Pirelli believes that it pre-season testing shows that its new 2017 compounds have delivered on what was asked from them.

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Pirelli have had to create wider tyres to cope with the increased size and downforce of this year’s cars. Greater cornering speeds will put higher demands on the tyres this season.

Pirelli were instructed to produce Longer-lasting tyres with less degradation for the new season. The company’s technical boss Mario Isola has said the feedback from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya so far has vindicated the company’s approach.

“Last year, no one could have driven 20 laps with the soft tyre in Barcelona. Because you would have lost 4 to 5 seconds,” Isola said. “Now the degradation is 1 to 1.5 seconds.”

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That performance gain was confirmed by Williams’ Felipe Massa this week.

“I drove 20 laps with the soft tyres, and I was able to attack for 20 laps,” Massa told Auto Motor und Sport during the four-day pre-season testing at the Spanish circuit.

But there are concerns that the longer-lasting tyres could make for boring one-stop races in 2017.

Other drivers have also commented critically on how the new, bigger tyres affect air flow from the rear of the cars. That makes it harder to follow their rivals, and to overtake cars ahead.

Isola said that the team was ready to respond to such complaints if the FIA directed them to.

“We built the tyres we were asked to build. If it turns out that the races are more boring, we are ready to change our approach for 2018.”

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