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Pirelli

Pirelli boss outlines whether new 2022 tyres will 'hit the cliff'

Pirelli's Mario Isola has outlined some more details of the new-for-2022 tyres, and whether drivers will have to worry about them "hitting the cliff".

18 inch tire Sainz Ferrari Abu Dhabi 2021
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To news overview © Pirelli

Pirelli boss Mario Isola has said that Formula 1 drivers in 2022 aren't likely to have to worry too much about 'the cliff' of the tyres.

'The cliff' refers to the point at which a tyre has hit the limits of its longevity and performance, and simply stops offering the drivers any grip. At this point, a driver's lap times can fall away by several seconds a lap and, in the past, has been quite a sudden transition. This is when the tyre's performance is referred to as 'falling off the cliff'.

For 2022, with Pirelli making all-new 18-inch tyres as part of F1's far-reaching technical rules reset, Isola explained the cliff is something that will likely need to be manufactured into the tyres if it is desired after this year.

"[Not] for the moment, because we had to develop a completely new product, a new range of compounds, [when you] consider the 18-inch tyre," he told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked about whether the cliff is a consideration for the teams this year.

"But, in reality, we are talking about seven different products. We have five compounds for the slick, one Intermediate and one Wet.

"We gave priority and focus on achieving these targets in reducing the overheating, reducing the degradation, achieving this delta lap time and so on."

Isola hinted that there will still be a significant drop-off of performance in 2022, but that it may be quite linear and predictable.

"The cliff is still something that happens when you have high wear, but it was not one of the targets on the 18-inch tyre," he said.

"It will be for the future if we confirm in 2022 that we have this need but, for the moment, this is the situation."

Pirelli continuing with set tyre allocations

In 2022, F1 continues with a recently-introduced system where every team and driver receives the same tyre allocation of a certain number of sets of each compound. Up until 2019, teams were able to decide their own allocations, with the rule changing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had to find a solution for the pandemic to be quicker in reaction, but then the teams came back to us saying, 'Actually, the system is quite good. We want to keep it for the future'," Isola explained.

"So it was not our decision at the end to continue with this fixed allocation. The teams told us that, if they have a fixed allocation and [it] is the same for everybody, there's no advantage for one or the other, they can start planning for this fixed allocation.

"Instead of spending time and resources and people to think about one set more or one set less of Softs, they have that allocation, they have to work around this. And so, in 2020, they said, 'We want to continue for 2021'.

"In 2021, with a new product for 2022, nobody was confident in deciding the compounds and breakdown, so they want to continue. I don't know if, in 2023, they want to change but, for the moment, this is the answer."

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