Pirelli want to bring back ‘the cliff’


Following the 2015 season opener in Melbourne, TJ13 produced some analysis predicting this year’s Pirelli tyres would be more conservative than previously. We pointed out that Pirelli would significantly miss their mandate to deliver tyres that degraded in such a manner that teams would be forced into an average of 2-3 pit stops.

Pirelli have indicated they will be attempting to return to producing tyres that degrade more for 2016, but also Paul Hembery has said he wants to see the return of ‘the cliff’.

“We’d love to bring back a proper ‘cliff'”, he told reporters in Interlagos. “If we can engineer that in – I don’t know if we’re going to have enough opportunity to get a solution that works perfectly during the Abu Dhabi test.”

Pirelli has repeatedly complained about the lack of opportunity to develop tyres through representative on track testing, and so have been offered a 12 hour test following the Abu Dhabi GP. The teams must provide one car each and Pirelli have requested they send race drivers to provide proper comparative feedback. The teams will not be allowed to try out parts during the test.

Ask Kimi Raikkonen for his thoughts on the 2012 Chinese GP, and be prepared to stand back and avoid a tongue-lashing. Having made what he hoped to be his second and final stop on lap 29, the Finn found himself in second place with just seven laps to go. However, from lap 49 in the space of just two laps, Kimi went from second to twelfth place as his tyres hit the ‘cliff’.

The ‘cliff’ was a tipping point close to the end of the life of the tyre, where the lap times suddenly went away from the driver, forcing them to pit or trundle round like a Manor F1 car.

Hembery explains why the ‘cliff’’ is a better solution for tyre degradation than is seen with the 2015 tyres. “The ideal situation would be to have a ‘cliff’ back so we can get back to two or three stops rather than pushing the stint lengths as we’ve had as a tendency of the last two years.

“It would be a compounding thing, something that we’re looking at,” Hembery added. “It’s things maybe we can do inside the tyre to try and create a kind of ‘cliff’ which could be a chemically-engineered one, so that it becomes unbeneficial to stay out for longer stints.

“If there’s one input we’ve had it’s that they [the teams] really want to get back to two or three stops rather than the predominant one stop racing we’ve had this year.”

In 2016 there will be a fourth dry tyre compound introduced, the ‘extreme soft’, and the teams will be choosing the two compounds in secret they wish to run weeks before the race weekend.

If the ‘cliff’ is to return, then safety is paramount and Hembery believes Pirelli have this covered. “We are continuing on further improvements in product integrity. The cars are going to get quicker next year so that’s obviously something you want to keep an eye on.”

Are you the TJ13 readers in favour of the return of the ‘cliff’?

16 responses to “Pirelli want to bring back ‘the cliff’

  1. Yup, spice it up! Anything to stop the Mercedes borefest. This is the first time in 20 years where I didn’t care if I missed a Grand Prix. Just checked the results online and saved myself 2 hours.

  2. Stop this artificial racing. No more “cliff”, no more DRS or push to overtake. Do away with the situation where people cannot overtake due to aerodynamics. Bring back more mechanical grip and leave the rest to the driver. If he wears his tyres out, then he has to stop, but allow people like Perez, who seems good at managing his tyres, to race the way he wants. If the driver blows his engine up, then he takes the penalty. But above all give control of the race to the driver.

    • F1 drivers throughout the various era’s of the sport have had to manage various parameters while racing. Tyres, fuel and the engines have been the consistent factors throughout. If you let the drivers race flat out, then 1 of 2 things would happen under the current formula –
      1. They’d run out of fuel and fail to finish.
      2. The Power Unit would blow up, would make for great tv but cost the
      teams a lot of money.

      The very best drivers are the ones who can manage everything and still find the time to get the fastest laps in lap after lap even with all the technical stuff they have to do on the steering wheel.

      And tbh I doubt it would make much difference if you bought another tyre manufacturer in, they’d face the same challenge as Pirelli – develop a tyre with limited testing. I think it’s time to allow the teams to test more throughout the season, it will help the development of the tyres, PU’s and ultimately the show. You’d have to figure out a way to keep costs down of course as Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren would likely want to pound around the track 24/7.

  3. Just change the rules so that a 5 foot wide and 3 foot high sheet of 1″ thick plywood is bolted vertically across the front of the car. That will take care of the areo effects very nicely.

  4. Upon reading the headline I was momentarily worried that Pirelli were going to enroll ‘under-investigation’ pop weirdo Cliff Richard in some kind of ambassadorial role…
    Imagine my relief etc etc…

  5. TJ13, please alter the title of this article: Bring back Bridgestone or Michelin.

    Utter joke Pirelli you are. Because of this negative marketing Pirelli is part of in F1, I don’t even consider your tyres when I buy sports tyres for my car.

  6. I think ita the only solution to the shitload of problems they will run into allowing the teams to select their own compounds for the weekend!

  7. Of course not.

    It brings nothing – everybody will learn how to manage and then any effect wears off.

    Perez would be happy, though.

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