Isola: Better communication responsible for improved AD tyre test feedback
Mario Isola says that Pirelli's test of 2021 tyres at Abu Dhabi last year received more positive feedback due to better information flow.
The Abu Dhabi test went far smoother than those which preceded it, which were held in Portugal and Bahrain. The tests prompted great criticism from drivers who were widely displeased with the behavior of the new construction, which they felt did little to address worries of the previous specification of tyre. Some even went as far as to suggest that the 2021 tyre was a step backwards relative to 2020's construction.
Abu Dhabi, though, saw few complaints come from drivers or teams, and though media attention had already shifted to the coming year at the time of the test, criticism was nonetheless considerably less present than it had been before, and Isola theorizes that this is the result of improved information exchange between teams and Pirelli. In Bahrain, he had previously clarified, many teams did not optimize their cars for new tyres.
"We informed the drivers and the technical people of each team to be sure that the target of that team was agreed upon," said Isola. "In Abu Dhabi, we had a better information flow than the times before, across teams and drivers [and us], and that's probably why we didn't hear any particular complaints.
"During Free Practice, it's difficult to optimize the car. You don't have time to optimize the car, the engineer would probably like to have a lot more time. That's something that'll happen in the pre-season test this year, but it was there decision to test the tyre as they wish; as they want.
"I didn't speak with drivers after Abu Dhabi as much but I'm very happy to get feedback from them," Isola said, before acknowledging that various characteristics of the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi circuits could have played a role, but that the two F1 tracks were chosen for their wildly varying attributes.
"We had decided to give the opportunity to test the 2021 tyres in Bahrain and in Abu Dhabi knowing the two circuits are very different. Bahrain is a circuit with certain characteristics and the tarmac roughness is very high, while here we have average roughness and a circuit with different characteristics.
"Giving them the opportunity to test the 2021 construction at two different circuits was very important for them, so maybe they found different behavior, maybe they learned from Bahrain and they were able to better set up the car. It takes time to analyze them. But it is a good point, making the comparison between Bahrain and here with different characteristics between 2020 and 2021 tyres," Isola said in summary.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]