Formula 1 drivers have criticised Pirelli’s wet tyres after a rain-drenched Brazilian Grand Prix, urging the Italian manufacturer to improve its compound next year.
Only 16 drivers finished the penultimate round of the 2016 F1 season, with many others nearly crashing out of the race due to treacherous conditions.
The drivers believe that although the wet compound was suitable for driving in corners, it simply couldn’t cope up with standing water on the straights.
Romain Grosjean, who spun into the barriers on the way to the grid, believes he was ‘’not even pushing” when he lost control of his Haas in the run up to the start/finish straight.
“Honestly, I don’t know what happened,”Grosjean said. “I saw two other cars having the same issue – so we need to improve the wet tyres. In my case I was not even pushing.
“It shows that the extreme tyre is a very poor tyre and there is no grip. You have to take a huge amount of risk, you can't control the car in a straight line.
Grosjean’s thoughts were echoed by race winner Lewis Hamilton, who also won the 2008 British Grand Prix by nearly a minute in similar conditions.
“We are going at some serious speeds and there is a lot of water to disperse by the tyres and the tyre just struggles; the faster we go, the harder it is for the tyres,’’ he said.
“This wasn’t a particularly difficult race in terms of being wet, there’s been much much worse races in terms of aquaplaning.”
Max Verstappen, who blazed the track in the final 15 laps of the race to take the final spot on the podium, believes added downforce on 2017 cars will make it easier to drive in the wet.
“I think next year it should be solved already, it will be much easier to drive the cars in the wet because of having quite a lot more downforce on the race,’’ he said.
Of course, I think we can do improvements on the tyres, we’re working on that for next year but I think that with more downforce that should help already.”
Pirelli has so far complained of lack of testing opportunities for its inability to produce tyres that meet the desired levels. The Italian manufacturer, however, will get 12 days of testing on a mule car - including dedicated wet weather tests - to prepare the new wider compounds for 2017.
by Rachit Thukral