Formula 1

Pirelli open to widening F1 tyre working range for 2020 season

Pirelli is open to widening the working window of its Formula 1 tyres for 2020 if such a move would help to make life easier for teams.

Several outfits are struggling to get tyres up to the right operating temperature this year, after Pirelli’s 0.4mm thinner tread moved the range higher.

Ferrari believes that its failure to challenge Mercedes so far this season is down to the new tyre situation, which is why it is working on fresh ideas to help boost its performance in this area.

Pirelli’s F1 racing manager Mario Isola is aware that teams have faced some headaches hitting the sweet spot with regards to tyre temperature this year.

He says this is why thoughts will be given to making things easier for 2020.

“What we are trying to do for next year is to focus on the working range, to make it wider,” Isola explained.

“In 2021 we will have 18-inch tyres, but without blankets, so we need to design compounds that are working without them. You need something that generates grip from 20C to 120C.

“This is giving us the opportunity to develop new compounds for 2021, so if we find something good in this research phase [that] we can introduce in ’20, why not?

“If we find a new family of compounds with a new philosophy, that is making the working range much wider, then we can introduce this new family also in 2020 with 13 inches and with blankets.

“It’s not that blankets will create an issue. They just start from a higher temperature.”

Isola believes that the increased focus on tyre working ranges this year is the result of the competition levels in F1, where tyre performance can now make a big difference to positions.

“If you consider the midfield, we have five or six teams that are within 0.2 seconds of each other,” he said.

“It has become very important to find any thousandths of a second. It can create a difference in qualifying position or in the race pace or whatever.

“That’s why [the teams] are so focused on the tyres, because probably if you are able to use the tyre in the best possible way you find performance.

“To find such performance with the powerunit, or downforce is a bit more difficult.”

How the Pirelli working ranges have changed

Pirelli’s thinner tread tyres, introduced to prevent blistering and overheating in 2019, have shifted the working ranges slightly higher.

Here’s how the operating windows compare this year to last season.

2019 tyres 2018 equivalent
C1 – 110-140C Hard – 105-135C
C2 – 110-135C Medium – 110-140C
C3 – 105-135C Soft – 105-135C
C4 – 90-120C Ultrasoft – 90-110C
C5 – 85-115C Hypersoft – 85-105C

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