Hamilton was clearly unhappy with the team’s progress over the last two testing periods in Barcelona, with the team apparently struggling to get to grips with their car whilst Ferrari stole the limelight with a quick and consistent car out of the box.
Further, Hamilton was quoted as saying on racefans.net that: “I don’t really have a lot of good things to say on that so best I probably not say anything,” and promptly went on to say more about how poor Pirelli are with their strategy for F1 2019.
The British driver claiming that the Italian manufacturer should’ve just stuck with the ‘overheating proof’, thin gauge rubber made last year for France, Great Britain and Spain.
Incidentally the very same rubber that caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who incorrectly thought that Pirelli were doing the tyre munching Mercedes a favour.
TJ13 wrote late last week that it is believed that currently the Mercedes could be in the midfield on certain compounds during race simulations, and that their aero could well be interacting poorly with the new Pirelli compounds brought in for this year.
Indeed, Hamilton put further fuel onto this fire by his comments made after the testing was done in Barcelona:
“The simplest thing they could’ve done was just bring that to this year. And they didn’t, they brought something else.”
It’s now understood that Pirelli did indeed ‘simply’ bring the 2018 rubber to 2019, and that the only compounds that are completely new are the two very hardest and then the extreme soft compound. Incidentally, Mercedes did the most running on the two compounds from last year over the last few sessions of testing, clearly at home on those C3 and C2 rubber’s.
Pirelli boss Mario Isola clarifies what’s occurred with the new tyre range for 2019, saying “The 2019 tyres are with a reduced tread gauge” the same as the said three races last year that Hamilton was asking for.
“That is the same solution that we implemented in three races last year. So this is an advantage that all the drivers should feel.” says Isola, so the Italian is befuddled as to why Hamilton is complaining.
“I can’t understand if this opinion is particularly focused on C1, C2 or C5, they are new, but if we consider C3 [and] C4 they use a lot during these three sessions, they are the same soft and ultra-soft from last year.”
“I need to speak to him and understand better in detail which is the reason why he is not happy.” concludes the Pirelli boss.
The fact of the matter is that Mercedes are struggling more at this winter test than they have before, and this is a little unusual for the most dominant team in the sports history. They continue to demonstrate an apparent handicap of eating Pirelli’s for lunch if unchecked. A trait from the Brawn days of 2012, soon after Pirelli came onboard with their high degradation compounds.
At present, it’s clear that the cool conditions and the resultant cold graining caused by the thin gauge, anti-overheating rubber, is not giving Mercedes the data they need at this early stage.
Obviously a team with the resources like Mercedes will come good again once the season starts. We’ll most definitely see them challenge for wins and probably the titles, but this ‘winter of discontent’ will have given the Italian Ferrari team a possible decisive head start in the coming Championship battle.
And Hamilton knows it.