Pirelli defends wet F1 tyres after Monaco GP criticism

Pirelli has defended its wet weather Formula 1 tyres in the wake of strong criticism from Sebastian Vettel and Jos Verstappen after the Monaco Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A522

The new 18-inch extreme wet rubber came under the spotlight in Monaco after a number of drivers were left unimpressed by how they coped with the downpour that hit the race.

Vettel said: "The extreme is so slow, it's the wrong tyre. It's way too hard for this track, but it's also too hard for tracks like Imola. It's just a poor tyre."

Max Verstappen's father Jos later wrote: "I also find it incredible to see how little grip the drivers have on the full wets. This is not new during the last race but has been going on for a long time. Something should be done about it."

But Pirelli's head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola thinks that judging the performance of the wets on how they performed at Monaco is premature.

With the company limited to a single wet compound for the season, it has to find a balance in producing tyres that are suitable for high-speed and high-downforce tracks as well as slower venues like Monaco, so they may not be ideal in all circumstances.

"Wet tyres are always difficult to understand," said Isola, when asked by Autosport about Vettel and Verstappen's criticisms.

"I believe that Monaco is not the right track to make a proper assessment of the wet tyres. We have only one compound for wet and one compound for the intermediate tyre – and it has to work everywhere: 22/23 different circuits. So we have to find the best compromise."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Furthermore, Isola suggests it is wrong for teams and drivers to be unhappy with Pirelli's products when the company is given so little assistance when it comes to wet weather testing to help it improve its products.

"We don't have a lot of opportunities to test the wet and intermediate tyres," he explained. "We recently ran a test with Ferrari at Fiorano and, at the moment, it is the only test that is scheduled for this year in order to develop a better product for next year.

"We are working together with the FIA and the teams to find additional availabilities from the team, but if we don't have the possibility to test the tyres, we don't have the possibility to develop the tyres.

"So I would first of all like to wait for other wet races to understand if, and where, we have to develop this product.

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"Also, if you remember preseason testing in Barcelona, we decided to wet the track for half a day to give the possibility to the teams to test the new product, and there was very little running on the extreme wet tyre. They were more focused on the intermediate.

"We need to test, otherwise we cannot develop a new tyre for the future. And we need to properly assess the performance of the tyres to react to that."

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