Formula 1

“We are satisfied with how the tyres performed” – Pirelli’s Mario Isola

2 Mins read
Credit: Mark Sutton / LAT Images

It was a magical Scuderia Ferrari 1-2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix, to open up what looks set to be an incredible 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. A key feature of the opening Grand Prix was the use of Pirelli’s brand-new for 2022, 18-inch tyres!

Charles Leclerc claimed the first win of the new era of the sport, with team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr in second and Seven-Time World Champion Lewis Hamilton rounding off the podium at the Bahrain International Circuit. The big shock of the Grand Prix came in the closing stages, where both Oracle Red Bull Racing cars and the Scuderia AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, retired due to sudden reliability issues. Gasly’s retirement came first and triggered a late Safety Car, which saw a flurry of frantic late pit-stops.

A new feature for 2022 is that all drivers can now start the race on new tyres, with this in mind all but the McLaren F1 Team drivers started on the Soft C3 compound, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo opted for the Medium C2. With the track temperature during the race being slightly higher than it had been during any of the previous two evenings, tyre degradation had a massive effect on the race.

Hamilton made the first stop of 2022 and went onto the C1 Hard compound tyre, the hardest in Pirelli’s range. This proved to be a strategic error by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, as Hamilton struggled immensely for grip on his out-lap, to the point where it looked like he was driving on ice! This is something which might become more regularly seen during the season, as one of the new rules for 2022 has seen the temperature of tyre blankets reduced, making the undercut harder as well as timing the pit window correctly.

Overall all three compounds used worked well, the C1 was used by only seven drivers during the race and whilst it was more consistent in performance compared to the other compounds, it did take considerably longer to warm up. Every driver used the C2 and C1 compounds, the tyres worked in-line with Pirelli’s pre-race predictions and both played a key role in the Grand Prix.

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, believes that the new 18-inch tyres helped deliver what was a great race, and that the new rules with regards to the tyre blankets will give teams an extra challenge this season.

“The championship debut of the new Formula 1 regulations with our latest 18-inch tyres delivered a race with plenty of excitement from start to finish and some great battles. We are satisfied with how the tyres performed. The soft and medium compounds were key here, while the hard represented an alternative and more consistent choice.

“The lower temperature of the tyre blankets this year also contributed to the challenge of putting the tyres in the correct window, making the undercut for the hard less powerful than usual, while the abrasive nature of the track ensured that it was going to be at least two stops for every driver. The strategy was also influenced by the late safety car, which finally led to three stops and set up a dramatic sprint finish to the race. Congratulations to Ferrari for their one-two!”  

Credit: Pirelli Motorsport Media
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