Pirelli re-thinking tires after Singapore GP 10s lap time drop

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Admittedly I have been looking for a reason to like the high degradation tires since they were introduced and unfortunately, I have no found one. There was the initial year. Then the year they tried to get too involved in out-thinking the race engineers and suffered several tire blowouts and then they went back to a more durable tire and faced stiff critique that they were being too conservative.

I’m not sure how much punishment Pirelli are willing to take but it’s a noble charter to provide a racing series with a tire that is exact opposite of what you want your customers to think of your product. Last year was one of those “too conservative” years and this season they brought two new compounds.

The Singapore Grand Prix is what is worst about these tires. After all these years, the race was being run 10 seconds slower than they qualified as the teams were managing tire wear the for the entire race. Very little passing, slower pace and tire management for the longest race on the calendar. You can do that math(s) there and see this is not good.

You can’t blame the teams, they are going to run the simulation and race strategy that is quickest and if, in the case of Mercedes, running a harder compounds at a slower pace but for the entire race is fastest, that’s what they will do.

Pirelli motorsport racing manager Mario Isola has been doing some soul-searching and said:

“This is something we should discuss because with experience and all the data that has been collected this year, we now have a better picture of the approach of the teams,” said Isola, when asked by Autosport about the situation.

“It is good to understand which is the right direction for the future.

“These are all considerations that must help us to understand and to improve the situation for next year.

“I don’t have a solution right now but it is important we learn from what happened, not just go ahead without looking behind.”

So, do they bring even softer compounds?

“We need to analyse carefully the data because the risk is that we go softer and softer, we have tyres with more degradation, and the only result is that we have more management,” he said. “It is something we need to evaluate.

“This year we were quite aggressive with the hypersoft, and we have been aggressive at other circuits, and we have seen that sometimes there is a race pace that was not at the right level because they [the drivers] had to manage the degradation.”

Let’s be honest, this isn’t and easy task for Pirelli and they have 10 teams working against them in order to get the most out of the tires they are given. That’s why I suggest we get rid of the HD tires and simply offer two or three compounds for the race weekend and the teams run what they want when they want it.

Let’s see what happens with the proposed larger wheel concept for 2021. For me, F1 can’t get rid of the constructs that seek to hobble and slow F1 cars down including batteries, limited fuel and HD tires as well as DRS quick enough. Why is it that F1’s answer is to create elements that demand teams run slow, conserve and save instead of run flat out, pure grip, full fuel and RPM’s in order to race at the edge or limit?

Hat Tip: Autosport

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So, we can’t have speedy tires without degradation, and we can’t get rid of the degradation without losing some speed. So, what’s the answer to this? Can we actually make speedy non-degradable tires that the audience would be happy with?


I’m no expert, but when Michelin and Bridgestone competed in F1, testing was allowed. They achieved the fastest low-degrading tire for the top teams they worked with. They tested endlessly, so they could achieve this. Even so, there’s always a trade off between degradation and speed. The grippiest tires always are the fastest, but for a very short time. Back in the 90s they had the soft, medium and hard. Soft were always used for qualifying because they were the quickest but didn’t last as long as the medium or hards. Then, depending on the type of race track –… Read more »

John Palermo

Singapore was the most boring race ever run according to my recollection, and I’ve been watching F1 since the late 80s, which is when it started being broadcast in Canada. These cars are capably of going more than 10s faster than what they were achieving last Sunday. Yes, the tires are the biggest factor. These HD tires are killing the sport. This is not a knock against Pirelli as they are a large high-performance tire maker that have their history in race tires. However, once again F1 is killing F1. Secondly, Singapore needs to come off the calendar. Sorry, we… Read more »

Formula Future

high degradation tyres are one of the non sense of the FIA and Pirelli obeyed by providing what was demanded. The way I see it, way to go is: keep wet, semi-wet and only one high performance tyre for the dry(which of course would be a mix of highest possible grip and longevity). At that point we can bring back Tyre suppliers competing on a fair and more precise basis, instead of a sole supplier which is even not allowed to produce what racing is based on (performance). And this just because the dude in charge who decided to introduce… Read more »


I think the answer is to go completely electric but use a loudspeaker system in the wheel well to make the sound of V12 engines (backhanded nod to those annoying “fans” that keep bothering them), run ten lap races restricted to under 30 miles per hour with a pit lane on the front and back stretch, changing tires (made of marshmallow fluff) twice a lap and the driver supplied with a set of bicycle pedals in the car so he can recharge the battery while they go. That way it’s utterly safe, totally green, and any possible excitement that may… Read more »


Hey, don’t give the FIA any new ideas. They actually might implement them. Lol


Not sure if this would really be much of a fix, but what if teams had to determine their entire season’s tire allocations before the very first race. I’d keep the current 6 compounds, but shift the nomenclature back to start from ‘Super-hard’ to hard to medium to soft to super soft to ultra soft (it looks like they actually currently have 7 possible compounds https://www.pirelli.com/tires/en-us/motorsport/homepage-f1 – I’m not sure we’ve even seen the ‘ice’ (aka. hard)? Each team selects one prime and one option tire per weekend, but each compound needs to be used prime at least 3 times,… Read more »


Make the best possible tire in 2 compounds and let the teams mix and match them side to side and front to rear like they could do in the old days.


What’s wrong with just having a slick, an intermediate and a wet with at least 2 stops whenever you want. I’m sick of F1 being ruled by shit Pirelli Tyres. I wouldn’t have em on my car….


The problem is the fans want to see strategic pitstops. Now to make this happen, the FIA says you have to run two tyre compounds a race, and the tyre supplier has to make tyres that degrade rapidly. Also, the tyre supplier has to make a ton of compounds so that, pray to god, the teams pick different strategies (how exciting!!!). BUT, there is only ONE tyre supplier. So the teams know that if they just go slow enough they can make the tyres last because their car is better on the tyres then the other guy’s. And even if… Read more »


With a pit stop at Singapore costing around twenty three seconds, it would have been faster to carry out multiple pit stops and run the cars faster. The reason nobody did that is because the cars cannot overtake at this circuit. The tyres Pirelli provided for this race were to induce the team’s to have multiple pit stops (as apparently fans find that exciting). Teams chose not to have multiple stops as the aerodynamics of the current cars make passing at this circuit too difficult. With track position so important, running the cars slow enough to allow just the one… Read more »


Great post Dave, that was my response too.
Its a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed, because it will likely be solved if the aero issue is resolved.