Mercedes Pirelli conspiracy: “Bollocks” says Wolff

Decision to bring thinner treads was a collective one say Pirelli.

Conspiracy theory has been doing the round that the introduction of thinner treads at the Spanish Grand Prix was to help Mercedes, and this theory gathered steam after Lewis Hamilton secured the fastest Spanish Grand Prix win.

The statement from Pirelli should put an end to this. According to a report by Autosport, Pirelli has said “the decision to reduce tread depth by 0.4mm, as a result of blistering suffered in testing thanks to the increased loads at the resurfaced Barcelona circuit, was made early last month.”

According to Pirelli the change had the desired effect of preventing blistering as 10 of the 14 drivers who finished the race made only one pit stop.

Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola told Autosport “If you have a high level of blistering affecting all or most of the cars, you have a lottery not a race.”

He further said “I don’t think that the slight modification in the tread thickness changed the balance of the performance of different cars.”

He also mentioned that it is their responsibility to provide each team with same product which is safe and suitable for the circuit.

Earlier when Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff was asked to comment on the speculation that they influenced the decision to bring tyres with thinner treads he said, “Is bollocks a bad word in English?” And added, “Rubbish. All teams had blistering, very heavy blistering at the test in Barcelona.”

Vettel also suggested that the new tyres might have made it more difficult for Ferrari to get the tyres working compared to Mercedes. But he also said, “they changed but they changed for everyone.”

Moreover, Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola said that the decision to change the thread thickness was made in consultation with teams.

“We investigated the reason why we had this blistering, and to be sure that the track surface played the biggest role and not maybe the new cars or the new compounds we had to wait until Melbourne,” said Isola.

“Once we confirmed that in Melbourne everything was back to a normal situation, I personally contacted all the teams to ask for their opinion and I collected different opinions.

“After that, we had an internal meeting in Pirelli where we evaluated everything and then we prepared a report for the FIA explaining why we were requesting this change.”

Now the clarification should douse all speculations and conspiracy theories. People should accept that Mercedes dominated the race with superior performance and other teams should make suitable changes to their cars so that when same tyres appear for French and British Grand Prix they are ready to take on Mercedes.

 

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12 responses to “Mercedes Pirelli conspiracy: “Bollocks” says Wolff

  1. Tyres blistering is largely the result of car design. The main beneficiary of the change was M-B. And this isn’t the first time Pirelli have helped out M-B – they did a private test, unknown to the FIA in 2013, to find out why M-B were wearing their tyres out faster than everyone else. What happened in Spain this week-end quite frankly stinks and makes F1 look like it’s being stage-managed so one team can remain competitive.

    • And they have been pushed through on safety grounds, but Mario Isola said to Sky Italy if enough teams complain they’ll revert back to the original tyres…
      Fishy? Yes.

    • I don’t know why you think this way? If you remember in pre-season testing Mercedes were quickest on the older tyres and they were touted as favourites yet again.

      During testing teams suffered blistering including Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren among others. So Pirelli took a decision after consulting teams also keeping in mind the new track layout and hence this thinner tread tyres for British and French GP also and not for other tracks.

      And if there was something fishy teams would protest especially Christian Horner, but no one protested.

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and give credit where it’s due. Mercedes beat their rivals fair and square and we should accept that.

      • In pre-season testing Mercedes, both Hamilton and Bottas, set their fastest times on mediums, and did almost all their testing on mediums. McLaren did almost all their testing on hyper-softs.

        If Pirelli believed that blistering was an issue – the only fair solution would have been to change the tyres at the beginning of the season and not wait until race 5 where the change gave one team, M-B, a significant advantage. Not changing the tread depth would have meant meant M-B would have done one more stop than Ferrari or Red Bull almost insuring M-B wouldn’t win- and it’s increasingly looking like anyway to increase M-B’s competitiveness will be used.

        • They waited for the 5 races to see if the problem is circuit specific and is caused by the new track that was laid out. Once they had enough data they went for the change and they changed only for three circuits. If there was something fishy they would have changed for every race starting Barcelona which is not the case.

          And no team has complained about this so I don’t think that teams were kept in dark by Pirelli.

          I will rest my case here.

          • The FIA approved the reduction in tread depth for Spain, Britain and France on April 6th, after 1 race. So spare me the BS that this move was done after Pirelli had data from multiple races.

  2. Another reason that Mercedes dominated was because they decided to turn the wick up on the engine this weekend to impress the Merc bigwigs that were in attendance. The increase in engine power might also persuade Lewis to sign his new contract sooner rather than later. As for F1 being stage-managed, it’s been like that for the last few years my friend. The FIA tend to turn a blind eye when certain teams/manufacturers flaunt the rules.

    • Absolutely – Do you think that any other team (apart from MB) would have been allowed to get away with it? I doubt it very much!

    • Tread is the construction of the tyre. Confusingly it is commonly referred to as tread despite not actually having channels for water expulsion

    • Tread refers to the rubber that makes contact with the road surface. Up until 1971, Spain I believe, all tyres had grooves to disperse water.

      The introduction of the slick tyre was to increase the available tread footprint upon the road.

      In the current regs, the layer of rubber that forms the tread is placed upon different materials which makes up the carcass of the wheel, usually steel bands. Minimising this by 0.4 brings about thermal benefits with the actual layer being more resistant to heat build up.

      As Cav mentioned, if the original tyres used in testing had been kept, Mercedes would have needed to run their race with more stops necessary.

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