Formula 1

F1 drivers to discuss tyre/racing concerns at GPDA meeting in Brazil

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association plans to discuss concerns about tyres and the state of racing in a meeting in Brazil on Friday, amid mounting frustrations with Formula 1.

An increased reliance on tyre management, plus an ever-widening gulf between the top three teams and the rest, has prompted drivers to meet to decide if they should step in.

Daniel Ricciardo said Pirelli’s current tyres allowed drivers to push harder in certain circumstances, but the need to preserve rubber to minimise pitstops meant there was still something lacking from a driver’s perspective.

That is why the subject has been added to the agenda for the GPDA meeting, which will take place after Friday’s drivers’ briefing.

“I don’t think anyone ever seems to be satisfied,” said Red Bull driver Ricciardo.

“They wanted a tyre we can race harder for longer, and I feel we’re nearly getting that.

“But I don’t know how to have a tyre we can push hard on but is going to degrade, so we can still do a two or three-stop.”

Although the topic – and whether degradation and management has got too much – has been singled out as a key point, GPDA director Romain Grosjean said wider F1 issues have set some alarm bells ringing.

“It’s not only tyres,” said Grosjean.

“I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I feel like we need to give our feedback and maybe try to do a bit more because the races aren’t fun.

“P6 in Mexico is two laps down? How do you hope to see a midfield car on the podium if they are one or two laps down?

“The delta between the big teams and the small teams is too big.

“Plus the tyres being so complicated to understand, to drive, if you don’t have the downforce you destroy them and you open the gap again.”

A consensus on what needs to be done, if reached among all drivers, could then be formalised and put to other parties.

“If we get to somewhere where everyone is happy with what we have discussed, then we should move them forward to you guys, to Liberty or whoever,” said Grosjean.

“[It’s important] we don’t sit back and don’t do anything for the sport we love.”

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly said current tyre frustrations show that drivers need to speak up more if there is any hope of improving racing.

“There are many things we can improve but there’s clearly one aspect that could improve racing: if we had more robust tyres that are less sensitive to overheating,” he said.

“It will give us the opportunity to follow other cars for longer.

“At the moment you do three corners really close from another car and you start sliding, [add] 3C on tyres and start to lose performance.

“It’s a snowball effect, the temperatures keep increasing and you’re done.

“Probably as drivers we need to be stronger in our opinion and view of what we need for the future.”

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