Mario Isola, the Head of Formula 1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, hopes for the ten Formula 1 teams to be sensible with their tyre usage during this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in order to prevent a repeat of the failures seen during the closing stages of the British Grand Prix last weekend.
Both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas and McLaren F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. lost top five positions on the final few laps at Silverstone last week after front-left tyre failures, while Lewis Hamilton won the race despite suffering a puncture of his own on the final tour.
Whilst Isola admits he can only give advice to the teams ahead of this weekend’s racing at Silverstone, which will see softer tyres being used than last weekend, he hopes and trusts the teams will not push the limit too far that we see more tyre failures on race day.
“Yes, I am worried because I don’t want to see any tyre that fails on track,” said Isola to Motorsport.com. “That is a priority. So we all need to pay attention.
“What we can do from our side is to give as much information as we can to the teams in order for them to run our product in a safe way. If they take a risk, they take risk, we cannot stop anybody, we cannot jump on track and stop a car, for sure.
“So I hope they will be responsible, knowing what happened last Sunday, not to do something above the limit. That is why we decided to avoid any mileage limitation. I trusted the teams, I trusted their ability and they are professional, and they know what to do.”
Whilst Pirelli did have an option to mandate maximum mileage on their tyres, Isola said this would have been unfair as some teams use their tyres differently and for longer stints.
“The reason why we decided not to impose any mileage limitation to the teams is that each car is different each, driver is different,” said Isola. “And one of the important things in F1 now for the show is the possibility for the teams to plan different strategies.
“If we were ever to suggest or define a limitation in the number of laps for each compound it means that we bring all the teams to plan the same strategy, that is not in the target for the show. So what we did is to give clear information to the teams through our engineers in order to make them aware of our findings, the result of the analysis and useful information to make their plan for this weekend.
“I believe that a two-stop strategy will be the baseline for this weekend, but each one can decide if they want to use a mix of hard, medium or soft, or maybe move even to a three-stop strategy.
“Three-stop on paper is not the quickest solution, but we can see a good number of permutations on the two-stop using all the three compounds and that is probably good for the show this weekend.”
Romain Grosjean’s first stint on the medium Pirelli tyre last week has given Isola the confidence they’ve gone the right way with tyre choices for this weekend, with the Haas F1 Team racer running thirty-six laps of the Silverstone track before hitting the pit lane.
However, the tyres were ‘finished’ at the end of the stint, meaning they will likely need to commit to at least a two-stop strategy this weekend, with some teams maybe even switching it to three stops.
“What happened with Grosjean last weekend is clear,” said Isola. “The tyres were completely finished. And that is not a mystery, 36 laps on the C2 compound are too many. And if you consider that a one stop-strategy means that you have to run at least 30 laps on the C2 and 20 plus on the C3, it is something that we are going to exclude for Sunday.
“If you run a tyre that is completely worn, you expose the construction, and in that case you take a lot more risk because the construction is not protected by the tread.
“So you hit debris, you hit the kerb, you hit anything and you take the risk to damage the construction. If you damage the construction, in a high severity circuit like Silverstone, it is very easy that you have a loss of air, and then a deflation, and you have to stop the car.
“That is something that is really evident to everybody. So I hope they would make a plan taking that into consideration.”