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Teams ran tyre pressures in Baku “lower than expected” according to Pirelli

Pirelli admit a key mistake could have contributed to the tyre blowouts.

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Written by Charlotte Christoforou and Dan Palmer

Formulanerds attended a Press Conference today with Head of Pirelli F1, Mario Isola, regarding the recent tyre blowouts of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

The press conference covered a range of topics, from an error of judgement by Pirelli, to the teams reportedly running their tyres above the parameters set.

The opening question came from Andrew Benson of BBC Sport in which he asked, “The implication was that the team was doing something that was either not permitted or not within expectations, so why not say so? Cause otherwise how would the running conditions be different in reality from what you expected in simulation?”

In response, Isola commented on the data Pirelli received from the teams including their simulations and highlighted the initial expectations they had from each team in regards to the suitable conditions for the tyres. 

Further to this, he added, “In that case, we didn’t achieve this condition, not because the teams were doing something against the regulations, but because they were looking – as usual – for performance, and it created a different scenario compared to what we were expecting.

“The tyres were running at the wrong pressure compared to the expectations.”

Following Friday practice at the Baku City Circuit, Pirelli increased the tyre pressure by 1 PSI, when asked by Andreas Haupt, from Auto motor und sport, if this was enough, Isola responded by saying that they needed to increase the pressure by “Probably another couple of PSI… 1.5 or something in that range”, essentially admitting to the mistake. 

Verstappen kick

Image Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Before the conference took place a rumour was circulating from Dutch publication, De Telegraaf, that the drivers boycotted the planned Pirelli briefing today, as they were unwilling to speak about the issues from Baku. When asked by the same publication if this was true, Isola commented: “We decided to attend the drivers briefing tomorrow because they are all there so it was easier to use this opportunity. After the drivers briefing, we can talk about it, they are already there so it’s much easier. It was a proposal coming from them to have just one meeting.” 

The planned meeting has been the talking point of conversation after Max Verstappen expressed his discontent at the statement given by Pirelli feeling it was vague and unclear exactly what the issue related to. Other teams and drivers expressed the same opinions. Following this Charlotte from the Formulanerds asked “What are Pirelli doing to re-establish driver and team faith in your tyres and would you care to comment on any of the statements they have made?”

Isola replied: “I heard the statement from Max and fully understand he is fully upset with what happened in Baku. 

“But as Max knows I am always available to give any answers and reply to any questions, and I will attend the Driver’s briefing tomorrow to give them answers if they have any. 

“I want to clarify anything that cannot be clarified in a few lines from a press release which is why we have this meeting now for example so you can ask questions, in order to better clarify the incident and the results of our investigation and our actions.

“The same is valid for any drivers – and I’ve had drivers asking for more clarification – and I’m always happy to give them an explanation.

“Safety is paramount for everybody, nobody likes to see any tyre failure on track or any other kind of failure on track.”

Formulanerds will keep you updated with any further information that comes from the driver briefing tomorrow, so be sure to keep checking our social media for the latest updates!

Also, check out our Podcast with Mario Isola via the link below!

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Headline Image: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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