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F1 teams reject prototype 2020 Pirelli tyre

Formula 1 will stick with 2019-specification Pirelli rubber next year, after teams unanimously voted to reject the new tyres that were being prepared for 2020.

The prototype 2020 spec – which was designed to reduce tyre degradation, provide a wider working range of temperature and lower overheating in dirty air –  had made its race weekend debut during free practice in Austin, but earned largely negative evaluations from the drivers who had sampled it.

As a result, the possibility of sticking with this year’s tyres was broached, such a decision requiring the approval of 70 percent of competing teams, as per item 12.6.1 of the F1 technical regulations.

And while Pirelli said it would be open to such a development, it was hopeful that the two-day post-season test in Abu Dhabi would offer a more representative view of the new tyres. However, GPDA director Romain Grosjean (Haas) said he was left with largely the same impression at Yas Marina – and the FIA has now confirmed a “unanimous decision” has been taken to stick with the 2019 spec.

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“The FIA would like to thank both Pirelli and all the teams for their work and collaboration to improve the tyres for the 2020 season and beyond,” the FIA statement added.

“In any case, the lessons leant will be invaluable for the further improvement of the tyres in the future.”

Pirelli’s motorsport director, Mario Isola, acknowledged peak grip was down on the 2019 tyres, but said that was to lessen the drop off in performance over the tyre’s life.

“The target was to make a tyre better for racing, not qualifying, we were not focusing on qualifying, we were not focused or peak of grip, the absolute performance of the car,”he said.

“The idea was to have tyres where you can push more, this means that probably we have more one-stop races and so on but that was the discussion and agreement we have.

F1 has one more tournament on the current tyres before switching to 18-inch rims for the 2021 season, which will feature a complete overhaul of the series’ cars and rules.

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