Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli said that tyre strategy had been “integral” to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Starting from fourth on the grid, Verstappen was the only one of the top 10 to start on the hard tyre. He used their comparative durability to run a longer first stint, which allowed him to move into the lead and then defend his advantage. The P Zero White hard (C2) tyre was softer than the hardest designated tyre at the previous weekend’s British Grand Prix, won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. While the Mercedes team was tougher on the tyres than most, with blistering a known issue, Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas were able to claim the second and third steps on the podium, with Hamilton using the P Zero White to set the fastest lap in the race to claim an extra championship point.
Formula 1’s exclusive tyre supplier Pirelli has concluded its initial analysis on a number of tyres run at the British Grand Prix. The tyre supplier said it has identified the cause of the tyre failures on both Mercedes and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz in Sunday’s race. A combination of the long stints the P Zero White (C1) was forced to complete and the “biggest forces” on F1 tyres ever meant the tyres were “placed under maximum stress” for a long period. The resultant wear on the tyres meant that the tyres were less protected from the extreme forces by the end of the race. While Pirelli plans to continue with its plan to supply softer compounds at the second Silverstone meeting, it said it would review the usage prescription for its F1 tyres, increasing the minimum tyre pressures to reduce structural stress.
Lewis Hamilton’s seventh win at Silverstone’s British Grand Prix came in dramatic circumstances after a last-lap tyre failure. The Mercedes driver was able to limp home with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull bearing down on him in a denouement filled with more tension than the rest of the race combined. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas had suffered a tyre failure with two laps to go, preventing a predictable and regulation 1-2 finish for the team, and leaving the Finn without a point despite his team’s domination of the weekend. Tyre supplier Pirelli is conducting a full examination on what led to the tyres’ failure – McLaren’s Carlos Sainz also experienced final lap tyre issues. Initial assessments point to the lengthy stints completed on the P Zero White (C1 compound) tyre, and debris on the track after two early crashes. Tyre strategy was largely dictated by the second crash on lap 12, as many drivers opted to change early to the harder tyre during the safety car period begun.
Pirelli will supply Formula 1 with two different tyre specifications in the Formula 1 Silverstone double-header. The British Grand Prix this weekend, which is the second event of the year to be sponsored by Pirelli, will have the C1 compound as P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as P Zero Red soft. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix one week later will be one-step softer: so C2 as the hard, C3 as the medium and C4 as the soft. This creates Formula 1 history: the first time ever that there has been two different tyre nominations for a double-header at the same venue.
The 2020 British GT Championship will kick off at Oulton Park, Cheshire this weekend. 21 cars across two classes will run on new Pirelli P Zero tyres, the DHE and DHB in the GT3 and GT4 classes respectively. Jonathan Wells, Pirelli UK motorsport manager, said the manufacturer is “looking forward to finally seeing the new DHE tyre in action, after a long delay to the season start.”
It was a glaring omission from an illustrious who’s who of the tyre world – the Pirelli P Zero was nowhere to be seen amongst the list of finalists for the Auto Bild summer 2020 tyre test. Its combined result in the preliminary round’s wet and dry braking tests only sufficed for 25th place from 50 tyres, a result that Auto Bild called “disappointing”. Pirelli isn’t leaving this stain on the P Zero’s reputation unanswered.
Pirelli has presented the tyre that will equip the new Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo from the 2020 season onwards in all four Ferrari Challenge championships. The tyre is the Pirelli P Zero DHA, the product of some seven months of close collaboration between Pirelli and Ferrari engineers. The P Zero DHA is available in size 275/675-19 at the front and 315/705-19 at the rear.
BMW Group has approved the Pirelli P Zero as an original equipment tyre for the BMW M8. The Pirelli tyre has been homologated for the M8 in size 275/35 ZR 20 (102Y) XL (front axle) and 285/35 ZR 20 (104Y) XL (rear axle).
Pirelli may be synonymous with traditional ideas of high performance, but in 2019 the tyre manufacturer is increasingly adapting what this segment of the market can mean. Earlier in 2019, Pirelli reported that tyres made according to the company’s Green Performance strategy had risen from 20 per cent a decade ago to 29.8 per cent in 2018 – not only that, but Green Performance tyres accounted for 57.5 per cent of Pirelli’s High Value product sales. Now the manufacturer is embracing another “electrifying” direction in which to develop its high performance tyres in 2019.
Silverstone will host the 3 Hours of Silverstone this weekend, round two of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, exclusively supplied by Pirelli. This follows the opening round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, which took place 160km down the road at Brands Hatch last weekend. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo will feature too, and the entire grid will also run on Pirelli rubber.
Pirelli travels to Albert Parks’ “slightly unusual” street circuit for the Formula 1 2019 season curtain-raiser in Melbourne, Australia this weekend. The exclusive tyre supplier nominated its C2, C3, and C4 compounds as the hard, medium, and soft tyres, saying that the track has a more flowing rhythm that also takes in some reasonably quick corners than stop-and-go street circuits, like Monaco or Singapore.
Pirelli’s ninth consecutive season as the exclusive tyre supplier to Formula 1 sees the manufacturer make several changes to its tyre range. This isn’t new – Pirelli has changed its tyres somewhat every season – but the changes to this year’s compounds, making their debut on the 2019 cars in Barcelona this week, offer a few more fundamental differences than we have recently come to expect.
Pirelli has confirmed that all five of its slick P Zero Formula 1 compounds will be seen in testing this year. Only three colours will be used on the slick tyres’ sidewalls to help spectators distinguish between the compounds this season – white plus Pirelli’s corporate yellow and red, in order of increasing softness. At each grand prix, the hardest compound tyre will have white sidewalls, the medium yellow, and the softest red.
Pirelli is involved in 10 major championships at the forefront of American motorsport. It commits 40 personnel to a variety of races and rallies every weekend, supplying tens of thousands of tyres. The scale of Pirelli’s competition involvement this year in North America shows, the company states, that motorsport on the continent has never been more relevant. This is because motorsport represents a part of the Italian company’s research and development for ultra-high performance tyres – an “open-air testing laboratory,” in its words – pushing the extremes of performance on track to create products for the road.