Abiteboul backs downforce changes to help Pirelli
Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says he fully supports the decision to change the floor on next year’s cars in order to reduce downforce and help out tyre providers Pirelli.
Pirelli had been intending to introduce new tyre this year, but the candidate compounds were rejected by teams after limited in-season testing in 2019.
As a result, Formula 1 will use the same 2019 specification compounds again this year – and also in 2021, as a result of the development freeze and the delay in introducing 18-inch tyres due to the impact of coronavirus.
- No driver choice on tyre compound allocations in 2020
Even with the current freeze, teams are still finding ways of producing more downforce and getting more speed out of their current cars. That puts extra stress and strain on the tyres, a significant challenge for Pirelli to ensure that the compounds remain in a safe condition throughout a race.
“Sometimes what’s remarkable with F1 is that the grid in general is capable of going above our assumptions,” Abiteboul told Autosport magazine.
“I think everyone has been surprised by the amount of aerodynamic development that we’ve been able to generate in the last 12 months, despite a change of regulations with the simplified front wing, and so on.”
To mitigate the situation, teams have agree to change the underfloor of their cars next year in order to take some of the pressure off the tyres.
“I’ve been a supplier of engines, and I know the difficulty of being a supplier to F1,” Abiteboul said. “It’s a big ask – a lot of expectation.
“We need to do a slightly better job in giving sufficient notice and stability on our decisions, so that Pirelli are given the opportunity to develop the right product for what we want to do.
“We were supposed to move to 18 inches next year, but we decided just when we were coming back from Australia to postpone the regulations by a year.
“We always need to look at the consequences of our decisions,” he pointed out. “Having taken that decision I think it also makes sense that we try to slightly adjust our cars to their product, at least in the short term.
“Medium term – for 2022 in particular – we need to make sure that the right products are developed for our cars with the right assumptions
Abiteboul added that it was “a bit of a credit to the sport that it’s a constant moving target for a supplier like Pirelli. But having said that, for 2022 we all need to be perfectly aligned with what we will be needed.”
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