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
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021