Pirelli to keep high minimum pressures despite driver concerns

Felipe Massa - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Pirelli will keep the minimum tyre pressures limit in place for the whole Belgian Grand Prix weekend despite concerns from drivers that they are too high.

Formula 1’s sole tyre manufacturer set the limits for the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps with the minimum front tyre pressure being 23.5 Psi, with the rear being 22 Psi.

Felipe Massa was one of the drivers to criticise the decision to run the pressures so high, calling them a ‘joke’ as he struggled for grip.

“I’ve never run such a high tyre pressure, like we have, in my whole career,” said Massa after Friday’s running . “And this is a bit of a joke to be honest.

“I would say everybody is struggling. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has such a high tyre pressure. The car is just completely not on the ground.”

Pirelli insisted on the minimum pressures in order to minimise the risk of a tyre failure around one of the more demanding circuits on the calendar for tyres.

Mario Isola, the Racing Manager of Pirelli’s F1 outfit, insisted the tyre pressures had not been a surprise to the teams, and revealed it had always been the plan to insist on higher pressures on high-energy circuits.

“I have to say, it was not a surprise for teams to have this kind of pressure here,” said Isola on Motorsport.com. “At the beginning of the year we decided to take some representative high-energy circuits, and one of these was Spa.

“They knew already in February that the plan for Spa was to have around 23-24 Psi, and 22 rear. So it was not a surprise.

“Originally it was going to be 24 Psi and we went down to 23.5 Psi. It is not a big difference but it was not higher than expected.”