Ferrari boss ‘ashamed’ with F1 tyre decision

Charles Leclerc

Formula 1 missed an opportunity to improve the on-track action by not reverting to 2018-spec tyres, leaving Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto ‘ashamed’ of the situation.

Over the course of the Austrian Grand Prix, a meeting between team bosses was held to discuss the prospect of a change back to Pirelli’s previous specification.

“I think we missed a great opportunity on the tyres decision. I think we should have done something,” reasoned Binotto.

“Sometimes we are discussing a lot and we are not acting, so I still feel really ashamed that we didn’t change the specification of the tyres for the rest of the season.

“That could have been a great opportunity to close the field.”

Throughout the 2019 season tyres have been a hot topic, with many feeling much of Mercedes’ advantage is a result of being better suited to the newer spec than the field.

Last year, Pirelli used a thinner tread tyre at selected races, specifically those that featured new asphalt, in an effort to avoid overheating.

Having been happy with the results that produced, the same principle was employed in all tyres for 2019.

There have also been changes to the maximum temperature teams can heat the tyres to in the blankets, with the rears now only allowed to be pre-heated to 80 degrees centigrade.

With Mercedes winning the opening eight races of the year, it was suggested that reverting to last year’s specification would spice up the on track action.

Ferrari had appeared strongest in pre-season testing, only to be comprehensively overshadowed by Mercedes in the opening stanza of the season.

An engine problem cost Charles Leclerc victory in Bahrain in its best early showing, before the Monegasque again saw victory slip through his fingers during the closing laps in Austria.

There, Mercedes struggled with cooling, allowing Ferrari and Red Bull the opportunity to compete.

While the race came alive in the second half, had it not been for a poor start from Verstappen, the Red Bull driver would likely have run away with the race.

While Binotto blames the tyre situation for the current stagnation in the F1 pecking order, others are less confident.

A unanimous vote from teams was required for any change to be possible, assuming Pirelli would co-operate.

Predictably, that vote failed as while Binotto was pushing the switch, a move seemingly in Ferrari’s best interests, there were others who were less keen to see the current state of play change.

As such, the sport will remain on the current specification tyres for the remainder of the season.

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