F1 to give 2020 tyres a second chance at Abu Dhabi

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F1 teams will make a final call on Pirelli’s 2020 tyres at the post-season test scheduled at Abu Dhabi next month.

Teams were given an opportunity to test the Italian company’s 2020-spec rubber in free practice at Austin, an assessment that resulted in negative feedback from drivers who felt the tyres simply did not offer the required level of grip.

The criticism was such that F1 is contemplating ditching the new tyres altogether and keeping the 2019-spec compounds for next year.

Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola defended the new tyres, insisting the sampling had taken place in Austin under cold conditions which weren’t representative of the product’s true characteristics.

However, FIA technical chief Nikolas Tombazis has told the teams that the two-day tyre test scheduled at Abu Dhabi after F1’s season finale is still programmed.

Therefore, following that final assessment and analysis of the relevant data, teams could vote on giving the green light to the 2020-spec tyres. But if seven out of ten teams subsequently give Pirelli the thumbs down, the supplier would be forced to stick with its 2019 range of tyres.

In the interim, the situation is complicated by teams being forced to run their 2020 aero design and development programmes with two different virtual set of tyres specifications, a burden that strains those outfits with less resources.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel reckoned it’s a good idea to give the 2020 tyres a second appraisal.

“It’s probably good to give them another go,” saidn the German.

“On the other hand the targets that were set out to achieve probably we didn’t achieve.

“I had a day in Barcelona, we had the cross-check in Austin. I think the feedback wasn’t positive, and in the end we try to make a step forward. So we’ll see what comes out.”

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