Pirelli reject 2019 tyres suited Mercedes over rivals

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Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola has rejected the suggestion that this year's tyres were better suited to Mercedes.

For much of the year, the thinner-treaded design was blamed for teams struggling to optimise their performance, with Ferrari and Red Bull leading a failed bid to reintroduce last year's compounds in Austria.

The theory was that after years of struggling with overheating and adapting a high downforce approach with their 2019 car, it was somehow convenient that Mercedes was the only team that knew how to prepare for the different philosophy.

However, the Pirelli chief denied that.

“Obviously we know that Mercedes is very quick,” Isola told RaceFans. “But forget Mercedes for one second: What can we say about McLaren? Toro Rosso, Renault sometimes is quick. So we have other teams that have been able to understand the tyres.

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“If you look back at previous years we always have at the beginning of the season some teams they have to understand the tyre quicker than others. Sometimes it’s Mercedes, sometimes it’s Red Bull, Ferrari or other teams.”

The Italian also played down the connection made between the use of thinner treaded tyres and Mercedes' performance last year, when they won two of the three races.

“In Barcelona, we had a race where Mercedes was dominating, but then we had the in-season test after the race and Sebastian [Vettel] tested both the normal tread and the thinner tread and his comment was the thinner tread is better. His words, not mine," he recalled.

“So we had Barcelona where it was clear that the thinner tread was better – I’m not talking about Mercedes.

"In Paul Ricard, we had a race with some situation that is not telling us that one car was a lot quicker than the other and at Silverstone, Mercedes didn’t win the race.

“So it’s difficult to say that the thinner tread was giving a clear advantage to one car or another.”