Pirelli's plan to reintroduce tyre performance 'cliff' unsuccessful

Pirelli's plan to bring back the 'cliff' in tyre performance to Formula 1 in 2016 "didn't work", according to its motorsport boss Paul Hembery

The F1 tyre supplier hoped to bring back the dramatic tyre drop-off seen in the past as a way to keep teams on their toes strategically in 2016.

But following testing, teams questioned if it had been successful, and Hembery told reporters ahead of the Australian Grand Prix the idea would now have to wait until 2017.

"That was the theory, that's what we were trying to do, but it hasn't worked at the level we wanted," he said.

"We haven't seen the difference in terms of a cliff.

"That's something we're looking at for 2017 now.

"We're not going to do anything in-season, all our work is focused on 2017."

Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds said his team could not tell a difference between the tyre drop-off in 2016 compared to last year.

"It's quite peculiar," he said. "We went to Barcelona and thought 'well, let's see what we've got'.

"We ran some tyres really a long way down and we didn't actually detect the cliff of performance.

"We honestly can't see the difference between this year's tyre and last year's.

"If we look at the specification that Pirelli has given us, as we get to this underlayer, it should be really low grip.

"But we're not feeling it, we don't understand why, and I don't think it's just us."

Williams driver Felipe Massa added: "Nothing changed, it's very similar to last year.

"I heard this [plan from Pirelli] as well, but I didn't see any difference."

Romain Grosjean believes if Pirelli wants to introduce sudden high degradation into its tyre compounds, it should be in a way that drivers can manage during a stint.

"If we've got one-lap performance, then a bit of a drop, then a cliff, it makes things easy [to manage]," said Grosjean.

"What I would like is that we could influence that cliff, so the way you are driving could make the cliff five laps earlier or five laps later.

"That can actually influence the race more than if everyone has the cliff at the same time."

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