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Pirelli starting to lower minimum F1 tyre pressures, airs concerns over 2017 testing
XPB.cc Pirelli
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  27 Sep 2016   |  7:56 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Pirelli has reportedly begun to reduce the minimum tyre pressures Formula 1 teams must adhere to during Grand Prix events, a report in Auto Motor und Sport has revealed.

The Italian company has set very high minimum tyre pressures this year, in part as a response to the tyre blowouts seen in recent seasons and also to stop the teams using clever tricks to lower the pressures and temperatures of the tyres out on track.

This led to criticism from drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, who called the high tyre pressures enforced at the Belgian Grand Prix a “joke”, as the rubber blisters quickly when combined with hot track temperatures

Felipe Massa

But since the race at Spa, Pirelli has gradually been reducing the minimum pressures allowed, particularly for the rear tyres, according to the report in Auto Motor und Sport.

The German publication states that the tyre pressures enforced at Monza were 23.5 and 21.5 PSI and were lowered on Saturday to 23.0 and 20.5 PSI. In Singapore, a street circuit that is therefore less demanding on the tyres, 20.0 PSI was set on the front tyres, while the rear pressures were reduced from 17.5 to 16.5 PSI.

This means the drivers will find it easier to get heat into the rear tyres but will still have to work harder to get the fronts up to the correct operating temperature.


Pirelli fears 2017 test cars are missing downforce

Pirelli has also begun testing its new wider 2017 F1 tyres in recent weeks, with Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes sharing the workload.

But the Italian company’s racing manager Mario Isola fears the adapted 2015 cars that are being used for the tests are not matching the expected increase in downforce levels for 2017, particularly as in-season development will further increase the amount of downforce on the cars by the end of next season.

Ferrari 2017 Pirelli tyre test

Speaking to Autosport, he said: “It depends if you consider the beginning of 2017 or end of 2017. It is probably around 20 per cent that is missing.

“During 2017, we will have quite a big development of the cars, which means we are even more far from that target.”

Isola also explained that not having the right predicted downforce levels during the development of the new tyres could potentially lead to problems with higher tyre degradation later in 2017.

He said: “The problem of not having the downforce at the right level is you don’t stress the compound at the level that is required and expected for next year.

Ferrari 2017 Pirelli tyre test

“You evaluate the degradation, which is probably not the right one because when the performance and downforce is increasing, you have higher degradation.

“That’s why we are working with the teams to have a car that is able to generate more downforce.”

Japanese Grand Prix tyre selections revealed

Pirelli has also revealed the tyre selections made by each Formula 1 team for the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

Just one week after this weekend’s race in Malaysia, F1 heads to Suzuka for the Japanese race where Pirelli will provide its soft, medium and hard compound tyres.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have differed over their allocation of hards and mediums, with the world champion opting to go for an extra set of the harder rubber and his rival picking one more set of the white-walled medium compound.

Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will have nine sets of the soft compound available to use compared to eight for the Mercedes pair and six for the Red Bull drivers. Vettel will have just a single set of mediums, and an extra set of hards compared to Raikkonen.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will have four sets of hards, as will Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.


What do you make of the F1 teams tyre selection for the Japanese Grand Prix and the latest developments in Pirelli’s tyre pressure recommendations and 2017 tyres? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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i don’t understand why downforce levels from 05 aren’t compared to what’s predicted for next year and used in conjunction with tyre data from Bridgestone in order to develop a suitable tyre for next season, unless Bridgestone and the teams would keep that data under lock and key for whatever reason

its just, the solutions are there and are seemingly being ignored, perhaps I’m wrong and that data has already been considered


Those new tires look fantastic!


Excuses already then as to why the 2017 tyres are going to be as terrible as 2016 and before. At least this time they won’t be able to use the line ‘well we could make longer lasting tyres but that’s not what we’ve been asked to do’. I hope they get their act together so we see some tyres that can actually be raced on. Michelin came back to MotoGP this year and their tyres are as good as the Bridgestone’s at the end of the latter’s time in the sport- Michelin got a lot of testing on bikes not vastly dissimilar from this year’s admittedly but it just seems to support the fear by the teams that Pirelli can’t make a much better tyre even if they tried.

Looks like teams thinking the hard tyres will be the best race tyre and soft tyres obviously for qualifying and starting the race, considering Vettel has only decided to go with 1 set of mediums and many others with just 2.


Great title to this story James. It’s fun to hear that Pirrelli have an air concern. Very droll. I love a good pun.


Pirelli is a joke they need to get out of F1, period, full stop.

This whole tail wagging the dog with the tire manufacturer limiting performance and setup parameters has gone on far too long. Their job needs to be provide tires that the teams can race on and setup the car around so that it is fastest around the track. If a team finds an addition .1sec/lap by putting nails in the sidewalls and the technical regs allow for it then the tire needs to be built to handle it, period, not the other way around. This side show we have right now needs to end.


Hopefully, we will not see the return of 2013 Pirelli tyre blowouts and delaminations.

A few highlights of current Pirelli tyre era :

– Introducing different tyre construction in the middle of a championship season,
– jacking up tyre pressures,
– getting approval letters released from the FOM and Bernie,
– blaming teams for tyre blowouts,
– having drivers gagged about expressing their true opinion about Pirelli tyres.

I do realise that Pirelli entered F1 when F1 was struggling to get any other manufacturer interested in supplying the tyres.

Their excuse has always been that they have been asked to make fast degrading tyres in order to spice up the show.

But, I’m simply not convinced that this company is right tyre supplier for an F1 car.

There has been far too many Pirelli tyre failures to ignore. And not once, I remember them putting their hand up and acknowledging their tyre shortcomings.

Instead, you have an approach where management is happy to gag the drivers and FOM is even more happy to issue a letter in support of Pirelli.

Next time there is a tyre puncture on a high speed track, it will be the same [Mod] dished out of the debris on track causing puncture.


This tyre business is just so tedious. Pirelli continually tell us what they can’t do instead of what they can do! Frankly it’s wearing very thin. I was never happy that pirelli were given sole supplier status. That is quite ridiculous and always says to me …what haven’t we been told? Michelin should’ve been appointed, if not the prime supplier then as one of two suppliers…then we’d see real competition. There is much to support michelin insofar as they originally refused to supply tyres that ‘degraded intentionally’. They would only supply race tyres that, as they are described, allow the teams/drivers to race without fear of disastrous collapse or lap specific failure. Mark webber knows a thing or two about racing and he says that ‘michelin make a racing tyre that lives up to it’s description’. Another comment was that of hulkenberg, after his historic first up win at le mans. ‘The tyres were stunning, you could push them hard all the time’.

What we need is at last one other supplier and open regs regarding the life of the tyre then let the teams decide how they want to about racing. Is that too hard?


Pirelli are beholden to the what is dictated to them by FOM, strategy group etc… Its not them who came up with the these artificial degradation rates and performance cliff…


@ redline…I think that you are mistaken here. Yes FOM says what they want but pirelli can always say ‘No’…just like michelin. If pirelli , and all the other tyre suppliers took the same stance then where would it all end up. We’d end up with real racing tyres instead of the gallimaufry we are currently exposed to.


@kenneth: ” FOM says what they want…” How is this different from what I said? Seems to me that the root cause of the gallimaufry (nice word btw!) is quite clear….


Too much “poor me” from Pirelli. We need to hear less about them and their fragile tyres and more about flat out leathering it.


Every Pirelli-story in F1 is a story about concerns and problems. Fed up beyond words with this company.


consider first that pirelli were asked to make tyres that degrade quickly after the race that was produced during the 2010 Canadian grand prix which saw very high rates of wear from the tyres at the time, which was very different to how the Bridgestone tyres behaved for the rest of that season

until they are let loose to develop the racing tyre that they want to develop we will keep having to hear excuses from them and they are likely justified in making them


Not sure why anyone would want 4 hard tyres- theyve proven to be too slow for most circuits. Nor do I understand people only selecting 1 medium tyre which I suspect will be the ideal race tyre. I think at Suzuka lead teams will start on Softs switch to hards & finish on mediums. So Ideally you’d want at least 1 new of each compound for the race. So FP should see each driver run/ test each compound if they are to be adequately prepared.

As for Pirelli – theres just no pleasing these people!- what do they want teams to build “end of 2017 cars” now??!. Just so they can test these tyres. Why can they just simulate additional loads. I find it amazing in this day & age that they cannot allow for a certain percentage of additional load ofr their compounds and construction.


The team mates with extra sets of a compound will test it in practice. So that’s why merc and ferrari have their drivers split up. For race, I presume, both team mates will have same new sets available.


Good call I forgot about that but then it doesnt help a driver getting actual feel the tyre before the race or if he does he wont have a clean set during the race


The current spec Mercedes looks like a gp3 car next to the 2017 spec Ferrari with its big tyres and a proper rear wing.

That this passed for F1 for 8 long years still boggles my mind.


Reading that selection shows that red bull are certainly the odd ones out here!


Yep lower the tyre pressures .
That favours the real racers Lewis Alonso Vettel Ricci Max. Be more entertaining rather than having less Rubber on Track contact with the use of higher tyre pressures rulings.
What we need is another tyre manufacturer in F1, so Pirelli doesn’t sit comfortable.
F1 needs a competitive battle with tyre manufacturers.
Michelin or Goodyear should be competing alongside Pirelli.


Who are the unreal racers? Are they cyborgs or something?


f1 can have another tyre manufacturer only when they decide to stop telling pirelli to make a tyre that wears out quickly, cause that request alone can’t possibly be filled out by companies competing with each other

it would be like asking the teams not to build flexible wings if they weren’t outlawed and hoping that everyone sticks to the spirit of the regulations, it just can’t happen until the rule makers view on tyres changes


Why would it favour only the “real racers”?


I suspect his answer to that will be [Mod].


It’s probably much easier said than done, but is there any real reason why they couldn’t bung on a bunch of aero parts to bring the downforce of the test cars up to the expected 2017 levels?


they can make attempts to bring the downforce levels on the old cars up but they won’t really compare to next year’s cars and that’s where pirelli have an issue

i honestly think it would have been easier to use an 05-06 car for the tests but i guess it would have missed the mark on current levels of torque from these engines by a long way


that’s pretty much what they have been doing… check out this pic of a Ferrari with side-skirts


Pirelli making excuses already then. Could be genuine fears or that they’re not up to the task, we won’t know until midway through next season when the teams bring developments to the cars. Note how they have dropped the blame on inconclusive testing on the team’s shoulders with the cars not generating more downforce, be interesting to see when, or if, they roll that one out next year!

I hope they do get it right for next year as all this extra mechanical and aero grip released in the new regs will be for nothing if the tyres can’t cope.


Talking about pressure…


And in front of the new boss too.


Hahahaha That is gold.


and Bob Fernley is kind of helping, but laughing at the same time. hahaha


did you notice how he angrily kicks the photograph …his ego was a billion times more bruised than his jaw on this one 🙂


When it comes to the 2017 regs, the powers that be have missed a trick by not implementing active suspension. AS has many advantages: in a blink of an eye (or even less these days) it can soften the springs/dampers at the rear for slow corners for better turn in and traction; stiffen the suspension and lower the ride height for fast corners to eliminate high speed roll, but its major advantage, as demonstrated on the Williams FW14b is that allows very consistent ride heights. The active system means the downforce under the car can be best distributed to where it’s needed: AS allows the aero balance to shift forwards in slow corners to eliminate understeer and improve turn in while in fast corners the downforce split can move rearwards to provide more back end stability. And on the straights the active system lowers the ride height to stop air spilling out and reducing drag.

What’s more, it could be a standardised system on all cars, like the ECU. Active suspension – it really is here’s your cake. Now help yourself to seconds – the Williams FW14b was something an amazing TWO seconds a lap quicker than its rivals – even on a dry track. The governing body have missed a big opportunity to make cars go faster – and yet safer too.


good shout for active suspension, would have to do some research myself before agreeing or disagreeing but it is odd that it hasn’t been brought back in an effort to promote mechanical grip


What, and hand Mercedes another huge advantage? 😉


active suspension is all well & good until it fails & turns the car into a surfboard.

plus many drivers back in the 90s that ran active suspension actually hated it as it dull’s the feel you get from the car. alain prost in particular regularly criticized it during 1993 stating that it made driver input far less important when setting up a car as it was all done by computers & that it gave drivers far less feedback which made them even more reliant on the computers.

additionally according to steve matchett the mechanics working on the cars hated the system as it introduced a lot of dangers when assembling/disassembling the cars due to the pressures that were been pumped through the system.

thats why the fia banned it & the only people upset about that at the time were the engineer’s. drivers, fans, media & most of the mechanics were all very happy it was banned.


We’ve come a long, long way since 1993 in the field of electronic control. It would be pretty much a non-issue these days.


I like this idea a lot. A standardised system would give the FIA the lap time improvement they want, but without handing a disproportinate advantage to the bigger teams. Active suspension should help the smaller teams that don’t have the budget to optimise their aero for all the different dynamic conditions currently experienced as the car pitches and rolls. And it would remove the advantage of the complex hydraulic systems that only the biggest teams have mastered. It would give faster lap times without a drag penalty, so you can keep high top speeds. Instead they’ve gone for bigger wings and tyres, which could well mean lower top speeds, shorter braking zones and less overtaking.


You only have to watch footage on Youtube/Dailymotion of the Williams FW14B/15, Benetton B193 and McLaren MP4/8 to see how balanced, grippy and above all stable they are – whether it’s slow corner, fast corner, long straight, hairpin, whatever. That’s the genius of AS.

I find it ridiculous that the most technologically advanced sport on the planet is still using passive springs, dampers and anti roll bars: a case of analogue suspension for a digital car. A small actuator on each corner would bring Formula 1 suspension into the postmodern age.


Yes, & they talk about “relevance” to road cars with only the PU. Yet most road cars now have some form of active suspension- either passive, automated or adjustable or a good serving of both. Ive said many times F1 will only truly be F1 when the whole car has equal sophistication :- Chassis, Suspension, Aero, Power. You rarely get teams being exceptional in all. For eg Mercedes always had strong engines, Lotus had very good suspension handling elements and Rbr we all know had A Newey aero genius

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