Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies believes F1 teams will be scratching their heads when winter testing kicks off as they deal with Pirelli’s 2021 tyres.
Formula 1’s exclusive tyre supplier has tweaked the structure of its compounds to boost durability on the grounds of safety following a series of tyre failures that occurred this year.
Drivers sampled the revised tyres in Bahrain, where few were impressed with the slower rubber that also offered less grip. Furthermore, Pirelli’s changes are expected to impact a car’s balance and handling characteristics, and that will be a source of puzzlement for teams according to Mekies.
“We know this tyre is done for better safety, the prototype tyre, so that’s the way it is,” Mekies said.
“We all want safety, we all want to push as hard as we can without having to be concerned about the tyre safety and I think that’s what Pirelli has done.
“So yes, it comes with less grip, we don’t like less grip, but if it’s the price one has to pay to get it, then I’m sure it’s fine.
“Now the tricky bit with these tyres is that yes, they have less grip but they also come with balance shifts through the corners and it’s probably going to mean quite a bit of head scratching over the winter to see how best to go about it.”
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The teams’ tyre problems will compounded by the fact that everyone will carry over their 2020 chassis into next year as mandated by F1’s rules.
But Mekies sees the issue as a possible source of gains for those who succeed on getting on top of the problem.
“It’s not just less grip, its characteristics are quite different,” added the Ferrari sporting boss.
“And how to best support our drivers in dealing with that is going to be a topic, which I guess is good for the short run next year, in a way that there will be a new parameter in the equation of the ranking next year.”
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