How Pirelli’s new F1 tyres will affect Mercedes is still “unknown” - Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says Pirelli’s new Formula 1 rear-tyre construction will reset what teams have learned in the opening eight races of 2021.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.

As a result of the tyre blowouts suffered by Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen, Pirelli will be testing a ‘more robust’ rear tyre construction during practice at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s second at the Red Bull Ring, Bottas has welcomed the move by Pirelli on the basis that it is on safety grounds.

“It’s always a bit of a challenge, of course,” Bottas said. “In the last eight or nine races we learned a lot about these tyres that are new for this season, in terms of rear constructions. It’s just another challenge, especially if it changes the car balance, which is still unknown.

“Also, estimating how far the tyres will go in the race, all those estimates will be new for now on, but if it’s for safety, it’s a good thing. We don’t want to see any punctures, any failures, so, if that helps the case, then I think we take it.”

Each driver will be given two sets of test tyres during practice and Bottas wants to avoid speculating on the impact of the change until he tries them for himself.

“The honest answer is I don’t know, we haven’t tried the tyres yet,” Bottas explained. “It’s a complete unknown for us, how our car is going to handle, how the grip level is going to be with the new rear tyres.

“That’s what we’re going to try tomorrow, so anything more that I would say now would be guessing and speculation, so I think we’ll learn more tomorrow.”

Teammate Lewis Hamilton doubts the change in construction will have a significant impact on the pecking order.

“I won’t know until I drive the car,” Hamilton added. “Most often when Pirelli bring a new tyre there are not huge differences so as far as I am aware it’s a reliability adjustment. I don’t really think it’s going to change much but we could get into tomorrow and it could affect some more than others, who knows.”

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