Having announced plans last year to produce special tyres for Formula 1’s return to Zandvoort, Pirelli has explained why it hasn’t done so this year.
During 2020 teams tested a new construction of tyre Pirelli developed specifically for use at Zandvoort. However, last year’s Dutch Grand Prix was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the tyres were never used for a race.
F1’s postponed return to Zandvoort will finally take place this weekend. However Pirelli has decided against producing special tyres this year.
The tyre manufacturer’s head of motorsport Mario Isola told RaceFans special rubber will not be needed for the event as its 2021 constructions are more robust.
“The banked corner is putting additional stress on tyres, as any banking, and we decided not to underestimate any possibility,” said Isola. “That’s why we made some analysis.
“At that time [in 2020] when we were talking about the possibility to change the construction for Zandvoort, we basically had two possibilities. One was to increase the pressure or to reduce the camber. The other one was to design a special construction only for Zandvoort.
“Now, thanks to the introduction of the new front at the beginning of the year and the new rear from Silverstone, we believe that the current tyre can cope well with with the stress in Zandvoort and that’s why we stayed on the normal production tyre, not any special construction.”
While Pirelli has nominated the hardest tyres in its range for this weekend’s race, Isola said Zandvoort will not be as demanding on tyres as some tracks, including Silverstone.
“It’s a bit lower compared to Silverstone,” he said. “Silverstone is still the highest of our ranking. Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka. Zandvoort [is] in the group of high severity but it’s not outstanding.”
Last year Max Verstappen warned the steep banking at Zandvoort will force teams to run “painful” high tyre pressures. However the minimum pressures set by Pirelli ahead of the race are lower than those used at some other races this year, such as the British Grand Prix. Pirelli has told teams to run front slick tyres at 22psi and the rears at 21.5psi.
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