Pirelli facing driver revolt that could lead to 2021 tyres being shelved
Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli is facing a revolt from the drivers that could lead to its 2021 rubber being shelved.
The Italian manufacturer is set to introduce a new specification of tyre for the first time in three seasons next year.
But after all 20 drivers tested the finalised concept in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, the feedback was overwhelmingly negative due it being roughly one second slower than the current composition, and there appeared to be no fix to the overheating issues as had been requested.
Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola has suggested the tweaks to next year's cars, primarily with a reduction in downforce, will eventually lead to the tyre interacting better with the car.
The belief amongst the drivers, however, is that the product they ran the rule over at the Bahrain International Circuit will fail to improve to a sufficient enough degree, and they are prepared to push to retain the current specification.
Although Pirelli is set for another test in Abu Dhabi, Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo said: "We can give it another go. I'm not sure we'll get a different result.
"It definitely needs quite a lot of work. If they want to bring something else to try, the least we can do is that, but if it's a similar result then you are going to get a lot of drivers pushing back on that one.
"If they can give us what we've got this year for next year...if we as drivers can push back then I imagine you're going to get the teams as well.
"There's still some hope we'll probably not have change, just what we've got now."
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen refuted Isola's claim that set-up changes with next year's cars would make a difference.
"Of course, the cars are not fully set up for these tyres but honestly, the difference we had in practice is not set-up, like you can adjust a few things," said Verstappen.
"If the tyre is not turning, it’s not working. You can turn the car upside, it’s not going to be the same speed. I hope we will not use them but let’s see."
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly does not see any benefit from the new tyres and is hoping the collective drivers' voices will be heard.
"At the end of the day, we are the ones who feel what happens out on track, and the feedback we give is very valuable for the future," said AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.
"We all agree that these new tyres will not improve racing because the overheating issue hasn't been improved on the new tyre. We definitely go slower so we don't see any beneficial reason to use them for next year.
"That's what we will appreciate, being heard on this topic."
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