Pirelli was asked to make wrong kind of tyres – Wolff | 2018 F1 season

Formula 1 should give official tyre supplier Pirelli a new brief to produce rubber which allows drivers to race each other more closely, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes.

Wolff said drivers shouldn’t have to reduce their pace by as much as seven seconds during races to preserve their tyres and achieve the optimum strategy.

Drivers met with Pirelli in Brazil to discuss their concerns about the high levels of tyre management they had to perform in races such as Mexico and Russia.

“I think Pirelli had a good meeting with the drivers,” said Wolff. “We have expressed our support for Pirelli because we know that it is a difficult task to manage.

“But I think in the past years we have simply asked the wrong things from Pirelli by making the compounds softer and softer, trying to trigger degradation and therefore more pit stops. The clever strategists have [realised] the fastest race time is about managing those tyres and still try to achieve a one-stop, or a two-stop sometimes. So completely the wrong direction.”

F1 sets down the requirements for its tyres in a ‘target letter’ which is given to Pirelli. Wolff believes that brief needs to be changed in response to the drivers’ concerns.

“We need robust tyres, which Pirelli is perfectly able to produce,” he said. “They just need to be given the right tasks or the right objectives.

“And then the drivers can push the tyre harder, they can stay in the wake of the car driving in front and we are not seeing blistering or deg that causes these seven seconds [pace reductions].”

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Wolff complained some teams has been “opportunistic” in their efforts to persuade Pirelli to make certain decisions regarding their tyres.

“People who have no clue meddle in the discussion on how to how the tyres should look like and how they should behave,” he said. “They should keep out of it.

“They should listen to the drivers and to the teams, and the teams shouldn’t be opportunistic as they’ve been in the past, thinking that somebody has an advantage or disadvantage and then lobbying for a certain direction.”

Earlier in the season Sebastian Vettel claimed Pirelli had changed its tyre specification for three races in response to problems Mercedes and Red Bull experienced in testing.

“This is what the story of this thing was when you remember back six months ago the discussion about the thinner tread. I mean it’s unbelievable that people say Mercedes wants them because they’re blistering and that the next race another team was blistering and they couldn’t even finish their stint properly. So it’s just… pathetic how opportunism drives various stakeholders in this business to push for a direction that is detrimental for the sport.”

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2018 F1 season

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