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Pirelli prepared to allow teams unlimited tyre choice if one rule is changed

Written by  Oct 13, 2018

Pirelli would allow the teams the complete freedom of choosing whichever tyres they want to for each Grand Prix weekend if one key rule was scrapped.

Currently, the Italian supplier designates three specific compounds for each race weekend with the drivers and teams then nominating 13 sets with at least one of each compound.

The issue many have is the current system often leads to drab one-stop strategies with Pirelli's current tyres much more durable than they were pre-2017 and some teams believe offering free choice would spice up the racing.

"I still think that’s a good idea, not this limited thing that we have now,” Force India boss Otmar Szafnaeur said.

“If you want a variety of strategies, make a free tyre choice. Any two compounds you want as opposed to they give you a range of compounds you can pick from.

“Some people will say ‘I really want to qualify high here I don’t care what happens in the race at least I have my Saturday night’. Especially if there’s a race where overtaking’s difficult.

“I doubt we will all come to the same conclusion because if you have disparity in performance and you have disparity in tyres other people might gamble in a different way.”

Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola admits the idea has been presented before but claims there are some hurdles that would need to be overcome.

“Some teams came up with some simulation showing that if we give the freedom to the teams to choose any of the compounds it’s an additional advantage to the top teams because the midfield has to push more for qualifying with a more aggressive selection and then they have to start the race with those tyres selected for quali,” he said.

“So I believe it is feasible, provided we also change some of the sporting regulations like not obliging to start on the tyres they qualified on in Q2 or something like that to make something that makes sense.”

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For some though, the best idea would be to simply return to high degradation tyres with Lewis Hamilton suggesting how they can be improved last weekend in Suzuka.

"I've really got to keep pushing Pirelli because the tyres feel great here, but this whole one-stop business is just ridiculous," he said.

"So next year I reckon they've got to go like three or four steps, maybe three steps softer. Swing them [the compounds] all lower so we have to do at least two stops per race. It's going to make it a little bit more challenging, and more grip, naturally, as you go to the softer compounds.

"And then the thinner gauge [tread], so you have less of that thermal blisters that we see and maybe we can be able to follow [other cars] and have more racing."

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