Pirelli learned about F1 Turkish GP track resurfacing too late

Pirelli Formula 1 boss Mario Isola admits the Italian company would have brought softer tyres to the Turkish Grand Prix had it known in time the track was being resurfaced

Pirelli learned about F1 Turkish GP track resurfacing too late

Pirelli learned about the plan to lay a new surface on the traditionally abrasive Istanbul Park track several weeks after committing to its three hardest compounds; the C1, C2 and C3.

After a day when all drivers struggled on the slippery new surface, Isola said with more notice Pirelli would have gone a step softer and brought the C2, C3 and C4 range, potentially giving drivers more chance of finding grip over the course of the weekend.

Ironically Pirelli didn't know about the planned surface change despite having strong connections to Turkey, with a factory not far from the circuit.

"Obviously we had the information about the resurfacing of the track quite late," said Isola. "And we didn't know about the characteristics of the tarmac.

"We have a tyre choice that is quite conservative considering the condition of the tarmac, and the type of tarmac we have now.

"I was expecting a tarmac that was more similar to Portimao, where we had smooth tarmac, with bitumen on top, and tyres were able to develop some grip.

"Instead here we had no grip, probably a combination of the temperature, the fact that it was damp, the type of tarmac, and the selection that is quite hard, the hardest that we can have.

"This circuit was resurfaced with the support of Tilke I believe, while Portimao was resurfaced with the support of Dromo, they are two companies that are working around that. So they probably used a different material."

Regarding the call on resurfacing he said: "I believe it was quite a late decision also from the circuit. We are well connected with the FIA in a normal situation, and on tracks where we used to go we have the information in advance. This year, it was a bit more difficult.

"New local promoters, maybe the information was not so clear. But the result is that I got the information that the plan was to have a new tarmac I believe four weeks ago, just before the start of the works at the track.

"I believe that they wanted to be ready with the circuit with a new image and everything in good condition. The tarmac was for sure quite old, but this doesn't mean that it was not good for racing.

"So it was a decision we have to accept, basically, it's done. So there is very little we can do. But the result is this one, basically very little grip.

"I mean, it's not a drama, in my opinion, because it's an additional challenge for drivers. And it's a bit of unpredictability for the engineers. So when you have this kind of situation, sometimes you have even better racing."

Isola also confirmed there was not enough time to change the compound choice, as the tyres destined for Istanbul were already in the system.

"Four weeks was not enough for us to change the allocation, basically we already produced the tyres, and the tyres were travelling to Turkey. The tyres are made in Romania, and then we have to go to Didcot for the grading, because the allocation is made by the FIA," he explained.

"So we have to do this job before going on track, otherwise we don't have the possibility to load the tyres on the trailer in a certain way to be quick in fitting, according to the FIA allocation. And then the trucks were travelling to Turkey.

"So even if we have the factory that is very close, half an hour from here, we didn't get the information.

"What we did is our colleagues from the Turkish factory helped us to measure the tarmac, as soon as they finished the resurfacing of the circuit. We have a tarmac that is very smooth, both macro roughness, and micro roughness.

"We measured it again yesterday, slightly different numbers, but again, not an aggressive asphalt, like we used to know in Istanbul. Basically, our decision on the allocation was based on the circuit layout, the severity, Turn 8 and the type of tarmac.

"It is clear that now the selection is a bit too hard for this circuit."

shares
comments
What 2011 comparisons tell us about Istanbul’s "terrifying" track surface

Previous article

What 2011 comparisons tell us about Istanbul’s "terrifying" track surface

Next article

Red Bull wants F1 2022 engine decision by end of November

Red Bull wants F1 2022 engine decision by end of November
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021