Isola: “The 2022 F1 cars will not be much slower than the 2021 cars was the conclusion of Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of competition – An optimistic conclusion about the new 18-inch tyres that will be fitted to F1 cars in 2022.
The Italian spoke at a conference on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Italian tyre company about the lessons learned from the testing of the 18-inch tyres in Abu Dhabi last year.
“I would say that we have confirmed that the new product has the characteristics that were requested by the FIA, namely less overheating of the carcass, and the possibility given to the drivers to attack more,” he said.
“It was important to do this test in Abu Dhabi because we also had to deal with traffic on track. This is something we couldn’t simulate in our tyre development test where we had one car running on a circuit with a maximum of two cars,” continued Mario Isola.
On the subject of tyre wear, another hot issue that has often hindered drivers from pushing to the maximum during a race, Isola thinks this will change in 2022:
“It’s difficult to make a prognosis because we were using mules cars, so we have to wait for the real performance of the new 2022 cars.”
“We have simulations from the teams, the simulations tell us that the new cars are not much slower than last year’s cars.
“The plan was to make the cars about more than three seconds per lap slower; now it’s half a second or a second already, so if they start with just one second difference, that means that over the course of the season they will probably reach the same level of performance that we had in 2021.”
This development in lap times is reminiscent of the improvement in 2014, when the V6 turbo hybrids were introduced in place of the naturally aspirated V8s. At the start of the season, the cars were slower than their larger predecessors, but the gap was closed by the following latter half of the season and was soon overtaking the lap times of the previous iteration cars.