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Turkish Grand Prix 2021

Pirelli fear wrong tyre choices due to increased track grip

Pirelli's Mario Isola fears teams may look to avoid the Soft tyre compound this weekend, after higher than expected levels of grip were encountered during Friday practice.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Pirelli's Mario Isola has explained that the increased grip of the Istanbul Park circuit is leading to higher than expected wear, and that the tyre choices made for this weekend may prove to be the wrong ones.

Pirelli brought along the C2, C3 and C4 compounds this weekend, a step softer than last year's choices. However, the circuit underwent water blasting treatment recently in a bid to improve tarmac grip. This treatment has had the effect of improving the grip beyond what Pirelli expected.

As a result, Isola believes that the teams may seek to avoid running the Soft compound tyre this weekend.

"Looking at the level of grip that we have, yes, [the] C1, C2 and C3, that could have been the right choice," Isola told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.

"My worry is that, for the next couple of days, teams will try to avoid the Soft compound because it's too soft. Obviously, this is not the target of our selection. The target of our selection is to have three compounds that are suitable for the weekend, not just two.

"So if it is confirmed that the Soft is too aggressive and teams try to avoid the usage of the Soft, then going one step harder would have been the right decision. But it is what it is."

Asked whether Pirelli were informed about the track surface treatment, Isola explained that it was more the timing of the information that prevented Pirelli from changing their decision.

"Yes, usually we are informed by the FIA, if there is any change in the tarmac or if the circuit has had to be resurfaced, or has to have any special treatment," he said.

"It was a late decision from the promoter, I suspect. I don't have information. When they decided to make this treatment, we have been informed, so we had that information. But it was too late.

"We had already produced the tyres, and they were already available for the race. It's not an easy period also for production and logistics, so we made the tyres, and then, after that, we were made aware of this change. "

With the drivers acknowledging the hugely increased grip of the track this year, Isola said their own testing numbers show that Istanbul Park has become one of the grippiest tracks on the calendar – a major turnaround from last season.

"It is quite high. Looking at the numbers that are coming from the grip tester, the level of grip is quite high," he said.

"I don't know if it is the highest but if I have to put the circuit on a scale, [and] it is one of the highest for the moment.

"It's important because you have to consider the level of grip with the level of wear, [which] is another important information for the teams, because if the level of grip is very high, but the level of wear is very low, in that case you generate a lot of heat in the bulk of the compound, and the heat can be either blistering or overheating.

"In this case, it seems that the wear is not very low. So the wear is helping to avoid overheating and blistering. But this is information that we have to analyse later."

Check out the special livery that Red Bull will run for the Turkish Grand Prix, as a tribute to outgoing engine partner Honda.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix

The latest news about the Turkish Grand Prix straight from Istanbul.

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