Pirelli chief Mario Isola says with the full backing of both the FIA and Formula 1 management it helps all stakeholders achieve the same target.

Following Pirelli’s successful tender bid to remain as F1’s sole tyre supplier, in a new deal which starts this year until at least 2023, the Italian tyre manufacturer has become a key pillar to the sport in helping it move towards its intended 2021 rules and regulations to organically produce closer racing.

While F1 teams unanimously voted against Pirelli’s 2020 tyre designs because of a different profile meaning teams would need late changes to their car designs, therefore keeping the 2019 tyres compounds for the upcoming season, the move from 13-inch to 18-inch lower profile tyres for 2021 remains part of the wider rules shake-up hitting the sport from next year.

Despite coming under criticism from teams and drivers about the design and performance of its tyres, Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Isola has shrugged off the impact and feels the strong working relationship it has with both the FIA and FOM is positive and pinnacle to its F1 involvement.

“I cannot complain at all. I’m very happy about the cooperation with Nikolas [Tombazis, FIA technical boss for single-seaters],” Isola said. “I’m very happy about the cooperation with Ross Brawn and Pat Symonds, because also Pat is more in the tyre business, whereas Ross is a bit of a higher level. He’s always very supportive, always updated, always working a lot, all the people, from Chase Carey to all the people that are involved in the FIA.

“Jean Todt was really, really supportive of Pirelli when we were asking for an additional test last year, he supported the additional test. It’s a real, good way of working together. I think Pirelli, FIA and FOM, they have the same target, because the success of the championship is our main target. We are not in competition.

“I understand the approach of the teams, they are in competition, they want to maximise their own interests. The drivers and teams, it’s their role. But for me, having this excellent relationship with the FIA and FOM, is the first pillar to build something positive for the future. I cannot complain at all.”

Isola also gave an emotional nod to former FIA F1 race director Charlie Whiting for helping create a strong bond between Pirelli and F1, following his tragic sudden death on the eve of the 2019 F1 opening round in Australia.

“Obviously I was working very well with Charlie. It was very sad what happened last year,” he said. “It was a shock for me. I was working daily, every day with Charlie for a number of reasons, but I’m working very, very well with Nikolas and his team.

“They are very good guys and working quite well. There was a growing curve in this relationship between us, it is very positive.”

F1’s move to 18-inch tyres for 2021 is aimed to make it easier to design tyres with lower profiles and fit the required criteria set out by the incoming regulations to reduce the aerodynamic impact from one car leading in front of another.

Tests on the 2021 rubber began after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month with further tests scheduled throughout 2020 in preparation for next year.

 

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