Mattia Binotto feels Formula 1 missed a ‘great opportunity’ to close up the field by not reverting back to Pirelli’s 2018 tyre compounds, with a recent vote between all ten teams on the grid failing to reach the seventy per cent needed to bring the change.
Binotto, the Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, had pushed for the move away from the thinner-tread 2019 compounds in favour of last years thicker-tread tyres as his team, along with a number of others, were unable to get the current specification to work with their cars.
This has allowed Mercedes AMG Motorsport secure eight of the first nine victories in 2019, a run only ended by Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing at the recent Austrian Grand Prix, where the Dutchman caught and passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the closing laps at the Red Bull Ring.
Only five teams voted for the change, with Mercedes voting to remain with the 2019 rubber along with their customer teams Racing Point F1 Team and Williams Racing, as well as the Renault F1 Team and the McLaren F1 Team.
All three Ferrari powered teams – Ferrari, Alfa Romeo Racing and Haas F1 Team – and both Honda-powered outfits – Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso – voted for a change that ultimately wasn’t forthcoming, much to the displeasure of Binotto.
“I think we missed a great opportunity on the tyres decision,” Binotto is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I think we should have done something.
“Sometimes we are discussing a lot and we are not acting, so I still feel really ashamed that we didn’t change the specification of the tyres for the rest of the season. That could have been a great opportunity to close the field.”
On the flip side, Racing Point’s technical director, Andrew Green, revealed that the team voted against any change as it was not ‘clear cut’ that going back to last year’s compounds would improve the racing or close up the field.
“We listened to the arguments and we especially listened to Mario [Isola], Pirelli are the experts in this area,” Green said to Motorsport.com. “From what we could tell it wasn’t clear cut at all that a change reverting to last year’s compounds’ gauge thickness would be a positive change.
“It sounded like a significant risk to us. From our perspective it’s too late for this season, the decision to focus on trying to do something to improve the tyres and the show for next season is the right thing to do.
“To not distract from the testing that’s going on post-this event and post-Silverstone is the right decision. And try to do something for next year, rather than a knee-jerk reaction in the middle of this year.”