Pirelli preps for blind test of 2021 tyres at Portimão

Pirelli has finalized its plans for F1 teams to test a series of prototype tyres at next week's... The post Pirelli preps for blind test of 2021 tyres at Portimão appeared first on F1i.com.

Pirelli preps for blind test of 2021 tyres at Portimão

Pirelli has finalized its plans for F1 teams to test a series of prototype tyres at next week's Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimão.

The test will take place on Friday afternoon during FP2 and will involve all teams and a batch of 30 sets of prototype tyres.

Earlier this year, the FIA decided to extend the specification of this year's tyres into 2021, but next year's 10% downforce cut as mandated by the regulations has prompted Pirelli to potentially implement a construction update.

Portimão is the Italian supplier's last opportunity to test its prototype rubber as any specification changes must be signed off by the FIA by November 1.

"The target is trying to develop a tyre with a higher level of integrity," said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"Which means that we can use it at a lower pressure. This together with a reduction in downforce that is planned for next year is helping the tyre to work in a better way, and therefore reduce the overheating.

"It cannot be a complete new product as we only have the chance to test the prototypes in Portimão, that is also a new track, and a track that's been resurfaced."

Teams will devote 30 minutes to testing the new tyres in the Friday afternoon practice session, with each team running three sets split among its drivers.

"We are planning to bring three sets of tyres per teams," added Isola. "Which means 30 sets of prototypes.

"That doesn't mean 30 different prototypes – we will have probably something in the range of 8-10.

"I don't want to give you the exact number, simply because the test is blind for the teams, and any information I release means that the teams are making calculations, 'I tried this one, and the others were trying another one,' and so on.

"We are going to provide the run plans to the teams. In general they are going to run the same number of laps on both cars. The approach is to run one car on a back-to-back, and one car on a long run, within the 30 minutes, so it's not very long.

"The plan is that the car that is running the back-to-back has a baseline and a prototype, and the other car has one set for the long run.

"We have to work in a way that is trying to preserve the sporting equity – we cannot give to one team 10 prototypes to test, and to another one and that's all. So we are trying to do this plan in a fair way."

Isola admitted that a short 30-minute window of testing provided a few challenges, while rain would likely force Pirelli to scrap the test altogether.

"In half an hour it's not easy," said the Italian. "We are a bit worried about traffic, we are a bit worried about many things that can happen – maybe the circuit isn't in great condition at the beginning of FP2. We need to go there and see what happens."

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Bottas: 'At my best I know I'm better than Hamilton'

Valtteri Bottas' championship hopes were dealt a massive blow last weekend at the Nürburgring, but the Mercedes driver... The post Bottas: 'At my best I know I'm better than Hamilton' appeared first on F1i.com.

Bottas: 'At my best I know I'm better than Hamilton'

Valtteri Bottas' championship hopes were dealt a massive blow last weekend at the Nürburgring, but the Mercedes driver is keeping his faith, convinced that at his best he can be better than teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas was sidelined by an engine issue at the Eifel GP, a setback that allowed Hamilton to increase his advantage in the drivers' standings to 69 points.

Once again, Bottas' prospects of defying Hamilton's supremacy at Mercedes, which had been nicely set up by a win in Russia and pole position at the Nürburgring, were nipped in the bud, albeit by a reliability issue rather than a mistake, the likes of which there have been too many for the Finn.

Asked after last Sunday's disappointing outcome if he felt he was better than his seemingly unassailable teammate, Bottas engaged in a bout of self-persuasion.

"Of course I have to believe that," he told Sky F1. "I believe that when I’m at my best I know I can be better than him.

"But obviously, there are days that he’s better, no doubt, and overall in the last few years being his team-mate, overall he has been better."

©Mercedes

Despite his self-confidence, Bottas' efforts to consistently surpass Hamilton on race day have repeatedly fallen short, while they have admittedly been enough to keep the Briton's other rivals at bay.

Is he endlessly destined to remain Hamilton's ideal wingman?

"I don’t do politics, I just love driving, I love racing," he said. "I like fair but hard racing and that’s what I do, that’s how I’ve always raced and that’s how I’ll go on.

"I’ve been pretty pleased with my performance, especially compared to previous years. Especially my race pace has been really good so I think the performance has been there.

"It’s been about small details, get them right and get things to go my way as well. Overall performance has been pretty positive."

Nico Rosberg, the only man to defeat Hamilton in the championship while sitting on the other side of the Mercedes garage, liked what he saw from Bottas at the start of last Sunday's race, when the Finn tussled with his teammate at the first corner.

However, the 2016 F1 world champion insists Bottas still needs to raise his game and work harder.

"Lewis is ahead going into the corner, and then Valtteri does an amazing job with sticking it out on the outside, and putting his foot down even when he’s off the track there, to take the position back," Rosberg said.

"It was awesome driving. I think I tried that like six times in my time against Lewis and I always lost out. I mean you don’t go around the outside of Lewis Hamilton.

"Then a couple of laps later Valtteri does make that mistake that he can’t allow himself to make against Hamilton, you have to keep it perfect.

"Bottas needs to step it up. He is not challenging Lewis hard enough."

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The post Bottas: 'At my best I know I'm better than Hamilton' appeared first on F1i.com.

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