Special Pirelli tire, Mercedes pole causes rumors

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

We’ve talked about the new tires this season on our podcasts and how the teams are still trying to get on top of the time gaps between compounds as well as how much softer this season’s tires are. With the Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft and now Hypersoft, the teams have spent the first four races trying to get the tires in the right temperature windows for their 2018 cars.

Barcelona was recently resurfaced and with teams having difficulty in the form of graining during pre-season testing, Pirelli said they have brough a thinner treaded tire to Barcelona this weekend. As such, it would seem the time gaps between soft and supersoft tires isn’t as dramatic as the team may have expected as both Ferrari’s switched from Super’s to Softs for their final run for pole position on Saturday for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen said he really had nothing to lose after a bobble on his first run on Supersofts. He rolled the dice and ran the soft compound and was half a second off pole. Sebastian Vettel said he didn’t have a good feeling on the supersofts for his first run in Q3 and also decided to change to soft compounds for his final run.

Kimi said that Barcelona, Silverstone and Paul Ricard will feature these tires but he says that the tire favors some cars over others…implication here is Mercedes.

For that, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that’s rubbish and that the tires weren’t changed to favor his team after they struggled so much at Barcelona in testing.

“Is bollocks a bad word in English?” said Wolff. “Rubbish. All teams had blistering, very heavy blistering at the test in Barcelona.

“Red Bull, Ferrari, ourselves. McLaren have seen it I think also. The tyres wouldn’t have lasted in the race.

“And the ambient, and the track temperatures, were arctic, Baltic, and for that reason Pirelli changed the thickness of the tyre to prevent blistering, and they’ve been successful at preventing the blistering because we haven’t see it on any car today.

“So, I don’t know where suddenly this rumour comes out that we have been influencing Pirelli and the FIA to change any tyres.

“I have never seen anything working like that, why should they do it?

“When we haven’t performed well in the past we have taken ourselves by the nose and have looked for performance to be found on our car, and not go on the default mode, turn around and say ‘what are the others doing that is wrong?'”

Still, Kimi is curious how this qualifying may have gone on the normal tire instead of these Barcelona Specials.

“This has happened before,” said Raikkonen. “Obviously it’s only here, Silverstone and France [where Pirelli’s thinner tread will be used].

“Yes it’s the same for everybody but sometimes it works for one better than others. It depends on many small things.

“It’s a bit unknown when we start running, it’s not like we run hundreds of laps to figure out.

“We don’t have a say in it, it’s very difficult to say what would happen if we had the normal tyre.

“Would it be different? Maybe not, maybe yes.”

Hat Tip: Autosport and Autosport

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Schumie Toronto

Uh … where are the “FIA” (Ferrari International Assistance) commenters now, eh?


Notice no comments on the illegal aero enhancements on ferraris mirrors though. Complete silence.

sunny stivala

Schumie. You know pretty well “where” they mostly originate from and “where” they are mostly Concentrated at.


Tinfoil hat brigade out in full force over tires that all teams knew about in preseason testing. Not mid season, PRESEASON! We don’t need the mobacracy. If there’s an dodgy car on the grid it’s surely the red car. Their oil tank has been taken away b/c oil burn, their floor allegedly revised, and now their aero hallo banned.


I’d love to see the exact wording of the technical directive regarding the halo mirrors. The FIA made it clear in public statements that they will ensure they are not used as aero devices, which is exactly what Ferrari did. But somehow they are allowed to run it this weekend.

sunny stivala

“But some animals are more equal than others” satirical novella indeed!. the subject is about tyres, I couldn’t help but observe the hypocrisy of some jumping in and talking about aero bits and oil tanks on car, just imagine if I did that?.

sunny stivala

Pirelli’s change to its tyres for 3 race weekends is a response to the problems Mercedes and Red Bull experienced during winter testing. The 0.4mm outer diameter reduction was done to allow Mercedes and Red Bull teams to manage their tyre temperatures better. Mercedes and Red Bull has both done-this-been-there-before, they had been trying to get the tyre supplier in the direction that suits their car. After winter testing Auto motor und sport reported Mercedes having asked Pirelli for help, they suggested Pirelli should reduce the rubber layer on at least 3 critical racetracks. Pirelli:- “we would have done that… Read more »

sunny stivala

Interesting to watch: google “2018 Spanish Grand Prix- Catalunya may 11-13” scroll down to fourth post and click on picture and watch.

sunny stivala

Should have read: “2018 Spanish Grand Prix-Catalunya May 11-13 page 23”.

Schumie Toronto

YUP! All mighty hell would have broken loose and Ross Brawn & Jean Tott would have had to smooth things over!