When Pirelli replaced Bridgestone as the Formula 1 tire supplier in 2011, Bernie Ecclestone demanded that the tires wear out quickly – this would increase the number of pit stops and add intrigue due to the difference in speed between new and worn tires.
The idea had the desired effect, but not everyone managed to get the tires to work. Shinnikov was often criticized, the design and composition of tires gradually changed, but the result did not always suit the teams and riders. In 2022, the regulations on aerodynamics and tire dimensions will change – Formula 1 will switch to tires on 18-inch wheels.
Before their development, tire workers will receive a new task from the FIA and FOM with requirements for new tires. But Pirelli is already warning that not everyone will like tires in 2022.
Mario Isola: “First, we built the tires that Ecclestone asked for – there were two to three pit stops in each race. But this did not suit the riders – they could not attack and were forced to save tire life at a distance. Since then, every year we have gradually increased it – and you see the result of this work today.
In 2022, we will switch to 18-inch wheels, the design of the tires will change. In theory, the load on the tires will decrease and our life should become easier. But there is a risk that we will not guess with the rigidity of the compositions. Tires can be too soft if we underestimate the downforce of new cars, or too hard if we overestimate. Therefore, we need tests, but even more important is information from teams about what characteristics their new cars will have.
Today, cars lose 40-50% of downforce when driving behind an opponent. Cars start to slip and tires work differently than under normal conditions. In 2022, this effect should become less noticeable, which will allow us to build tires that are less prone to overheating, with a wider operating temperature range and more predictable wear.
We cannot give up controlled tire wear at a distance, otherwise the race will turn into a procession. A compromise is needed. If the tires don’t overheat and degrade, the fastest car will always be ahead. At the finish of the 300 km race, there will always be satisfied and dissatisfied. Unfortunately, we cannot make everyone happy. “