F1 tyre chief admits Hamilton and Verstappen could contend with new twist in title battle

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Pirelli boss Mario Isola believes there could be more one-stop races in 2022 due to the new 18-inch tyres. If the tyres tyres are less degradable, Lewis Hamilton and 2021 world champion Max Verstappen will have less tactics to utilise and scheme around.

When speaking at the launch of Pirelli’s 2022 motorsport programme, Isola insisted the aim of the new tyres was to allow for multiple stop races.

However, he expressed concerns with the design that may lead to an increase in one-stop races.

“I hope not,” Isola told reporters when asked about the possibility of races being one-stop in 2022.

“I hope we don’t have less strategic variabilities, because the idea, and the way in which we have designed the tyres, is to continue to have different strategies – a mix of one and two stops.

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“It is also true that with a new product with less degradation, it is possible that we have less pit stops, so we have [the] majority of the races [as a] one-stop.

“As I always say, for me, it is not an issue, as long as we have good races and action on track. When overtakes are too easy, it’s not good.

“So if we have drivers that can push for overtakes, we have a lot of action. It’s important that the driver is putting a lot of effort in trying to overtake – that is exactly what spectators want.

“There is a survey made by F1 on that and the majority of feedback was that spectators don’t want easy overtaking – they want action on track and fighting.”

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Pirelli must develop the new 2022 18-inch tyres without a new 2022 car to test them on, which creates difficulties for the tyre supplier.

Isola added that there was great difficulty in relying on computer simulation data along with team’s supplied cars used for track testing in the meantime.

“I would say that is quite a normal situation,” Isola said.

“In 2016, we had to develop wider tyres for 2017, and no 2017 cars were available. So it is something that is not new to us.

“What we do is, we have a great cooperation with the teams – they supply simulations. We did a lot of work with simulation in 2016, 2020 and 2021.

“So we have a virtual model of the tyre. That is a black box that we provide to the teams; the teams can plug in this model in their simulators and give us their feedback.

“So they have an model of the car, we have a model of the tyre, we have some iterations, and we converge to an idea of the final version of the car and the final version of the tyres.”

Isola also insisted that Pirelli’s access to all team data allowed them to understand which teams were developing in the right way ahead of the new season.

The 23-race 2022 campaign begins on 18-20 March, with winter testing for the all-new generation of cars underway from 23 February.

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