In the first part of the exclusive interview with Mario Isola made by FormulaPassion on the occasion of the Austrian Grand Prix, the Pirelli manager illustrated the precautions taken following the episodes that animated the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. However, the issue of inflation pressures is not the only one to hold the spot at Pirelli in the current season, with the Italian house also engaged in the development of tires for next season, when the 18-inch wheels will debut together with a ‘ completely revised aerodynamics. In the second part of the interview Mario Isola anticipated the characteristics of the tires for next season, heralding less wear and the consequent possibility for the riders to push harder even in the race.
Pirelli is also currently involved in the development of the 2022 tires, for which you are carrying out various tests in which the teams cannot collect any data, is that correct?
“It doesn’t exactly work like that. The data is collected and then shared with all the teams in the form of a report whose structure has been defined. Clearly, confidential data relating to a specific car cannot be provided, but all data relating to the tire and its wear are shared ”.
In recent months, Mercedes has given up on a test with you at Paul Ricard, an absence that Ferrari has readily grasped to offer itself as a substitute. However, considering that the data is shared with all the teams, what can be the advantage of having a test in first person?
“At Ferrari they have said that they are very focused on next year and any information they can gather they see positively. They see 2021 as a transitional year for a relaunch next season, as Mercedes is fighting for the championship with Red Bull, so it’s different situations. Mercedes also gave up for a budget cap issue, so reasons that go beyond simply wanting or not wanting to take the test. Our obligation is to offer the tests to everyone and then, once we have collected the availabilities, try to distribute them fairly, which we have always done. It is an extremely cumbersome process, but in the end in recent years we have managed to put together a calendar that has satisfied everyone on the basis of the requests that we received “.
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“When Mercedes decided to take a step back, we contacted the teams again, Ferrari gave us its availability, I informed the FIA and this availability was accepted. […] Yes, this information is shared with everyone, but then they have the tires physically mounted on the car and can have a more precise idea. However, just to avoid that there are disadvantages for those who do not test or dispute at one time rather than another, it was simply decided to find a shared way to give everyone the information. For example, all the riders’ comments, any set-up changes and the type of tire tested are reported. The test is in the dark for the team, so they don’t even know what they’re feeling, which is why they gather some information and others don’t. For me the system works quite well and the teams are happy too, which is not trivial ”.
At the level of rubber behavior for 18-inch wheels for 2022, can we expect a wider window of use?
“The 18-inch will be completely different, because as requested, it will have to be a radically different tire, with a wider working range and with compounds that suffer less from overheating, an aspect to which the aerodynamics of the new cars will also contribute. . The new single-seaters have been designed to prevent those chasing from losing too much aerodynamic load and if the car is crushed to the ground, the rubber is also helped a lot. Next year it will be all new ”.
Can we therefore still expect races with one or maximum two stops in 2022?
“Yes, with these changes we must expect races that tend towards the single stop, but they should be even more fought, precisely because of these characteristics of the cars. Due to the fact that you can push on the tires from start to finish, the drivers should be more able to attack on the track. It is also true that it pushes those behind, but it also pushes those in front. We will see what happens next year, which will be the first of this new generation of Formula 1, for which we also have the data we are collecting on 18 inches in Formula 2. After that it is a dynamic world, so for the following year we will definitely have to develop, modify and fix something more ”.
From your simulations, how slower should the new cars be?
“From the simulations we have done on the tires, which are quite consistent with what we see on the track in Formula 2, the tires should not cause any difference in performance, so much so that the Formula 2 are running at the same times as when they were 13 inches. and these are cars that are not developed. But there is the impact of the new aerodynamics and the new car, that will be worth seeing. They could be slightly slower, someone spoke of two or three seconds ”.
Do you think that checking the driving pressures through the standard sensor starting next year will influence teams in the design of 2022 cars?
“It certainly has an impact, because when you have a mono product you can make a difference if you use it better than the others. It is true that next year there will be many standard parts such as the rims, the brakes will be different and therefore the heat transfer from the disc to the rim will also be different, there will be the wheel covers, so the whole situation will be different. The teams are trying to understand what will happen, at what temperatures the tires will work and what the characteristics will be. We periodically release data on what is the basis on which we are working at that moment and the teams will certainly try to design cars that are able to make the most of the tires ”.
Maybe we are asking the wrong person, but do you think that in current Formula 1 the tires are excessively preponderant over the rest?
“Sometimes they are, but we have also been asked to create more unpredictability and to make a tire that is more difficult to understand, because all in all this increases the spectacle. It must not be too overwhelming, the pilot must be the center of attention. This is a sport in which it is the driver who must be the hero of Sunday, it is not the tire and many times it is not even the car, but it is often difficult to balance all these aspects ”.