Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has admitted that he is “ashamed” of his fellow rivals. His main grouse was that the sport did not agree to change the specification of the 2019 tyres to curb Mercedes‘ dominance this season.
So far, the Silver Arrows are the only ones to solve the 2019 Pirelli tyre equation perfectly. Meanwhile, the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull have had issues finding the right temperature range. As a result, Mercedes romped to eight wins until Max Verstappen broke the streak.
Concerns were raised, especially in the wake of a Mercedes victory at the French Grand Prix. Many were of the opinion that the sport was in danger of becoming too one-sided. So, Ferrari and Red Bull put forward a proposal to change the tyre specification. They preferred the 2018-style tyres, which had a thicker tread and were easier to keep up to temperature.
Unfortunately, the vote held at the Austrian Grand Prix over the matter did not go their way. At least seven teams needed to approve of the idea, but only five backed the plan.
Speaking to the media, Binotto said, “I think it has been a good battle in Austria, and normally you have good battles when you do not have one team which is overperforming. This weekend has been great in that respect.”
“But I think we missed a great opportunity this weekend on the tyres decision. I think F1 as a whole should have done something and I think sometimes we are discussing and not acting.”
“I feel really ashamed that we didn’t change the specification of the tyres for the rest of the season because that would have been a great opportunity to somehow close the field.”
However, a number of potential issues cropped up with the 2018-style tyres. This actually left Pirelli quite concerned, especially after the French Grand Prix.
“For me it’s very strange,” confessed Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola. “I don’t see any real advantage to go back to 2018 tyres and I explained that on a technical side [at the vote].
“Last year, the main complaints were blistering but in the second half of the season, with the improvement of the car it became even worse towards the end of the year. Overheating is a hot topic for drivers, and so we developed a product this year that is in in line with their request and now we have a tyre that has less overheating.
“The blisters we had in Paul Ricard are not dangerous, but it is telling us that the current cars are very fast and putting a lot of energy through the tyres. So, if we got back to last year’s tyres we have more blistering, more overheating, drivers that cannot attack and cannot push, so the show could be even worse! That was my consideration.
“Then we can discuss if this change would change the balance of performance across the teams. I have an opinion on that, but the technical facts are that it will increase overheating and increase blisters.”