Pirelli Welcome 2021 Downforce Reduction After Dramatic Tyre Failures

Pirelli have said the move should improve tyre longevity and reduce the risk of failures or rapid degradation.

Italian tyre-maker Pirelli has welcomed the FIA’s decision to tweak the technical regulations to reduce the amount of downforce that Formula 1 cars will be able to generate when cornering at high speeds next season.

Noting that the current breed of F1 cars are producing the “highest level of downforce we have ever seen”, Mario Isola, head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, said the move should improve tyre longevity and reduce the risk of failures or rapid degradation.

“Having another step in the direction of reducing the level of downforce is for sure beneficial because with more downforce… then we have side effects like overheating, blistering, for example, or additional degradation,” Isola said in an interview with Formula1.com.

He stressed that the current edition of Pirelli tyres have been in use in Formula 1 since 2019, and they weren’t designed to deal with the sort of loads contemporary F1 cars generate during high-speed cornering .

Continuing, he said the only thing they’ve been able to do this season to improve tyre longevity is mandate higher minimum tyre pressures for teams to use.

The 2020 British Grand Prix at Silverstone saw Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both suffer punctures despite their best efforts to manage their tyres.

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Bottas dropped from second to eleventh as a result of his tyre failure, while Lewis Hamilton just about managed to hold on to victory, crossing the finish line with a destroyed front-left tyre.  

The FIA has notified constructors that the downforce reduction will be achieved by trimming back the outer floor area. Isola insisted this shouldn’t lead to the cars being unstable at the rear.

“It’s a matter of balancing the car and making a proper set-up. In the past we had less downforce and we didn’t have any issues. It’s just that the teams have to work with a different car.”

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