After testing a set of prototype tyres at the Portuguese Grand Prix, the results left Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli satisfied, indicating that the Milan-based company can achieve its goals with the modifications.
Although Pirelli was set to introduce a brand-new 18-inch tyre in 2021, the coronavirus crisis forced the sport to delay the introduction of the new rubber until the start of 2022. As a result, Pirelli originally decided to carry over the current tyre compounds and constructions for next year.
However, the tyre supplier developed a set of prototype tyres during the season to overcome some of the current issues. The aim is to reduce overheating and slightly increase the durability of the tyres „The tyres should last longer without overheating,’ said Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car racing Mario Isola.
While the modifications affect the construction, the compounds remain unchanged for 2021. The front tyres will also feature a slightly modified profile which could pose a new challenge to the engineers who work on the aerodynamics of the cars.
The Italian company tested the new tyres at Portimao that played host to the Portuguese Grand Prix, giving the teams ten different prototypes in a blind test. Each team was handed three sets of tyres with one of their drivers asked to carry out a long run with a single set while the second driver required to complete two shorter runs on two different sets.
“The tests we carried out in Portimao to assess 2021 tyre specifications went well, as expected. We are now analysing all the data collected,” Isola concluded.
The current tyres have been used since the start of the 2019 season. Pirelli also intended to modify those tyres for the current season, carrying out a blind test at Austin during last year's United States Grand Prix, but teams and drivers were unhappy with the behaviour of the modification, leaving Pirelli with no other choice than sticking to those tyres for 2020.
Pirelli is expected to give the teams another chance at the end of the season, possibly at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to sample the new tyres before the season concludes.