Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition
22 January 2018 – Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola says he doubts that Formula 1 will ever return to competition between two tyre manufacturers, citing increased costs and performance variation.
Formula 1 has had a tyre war at various stages through its history, most recently when Bridgestone and Michelin traded honours between 2001 and 2006.
However, Michelin's withdrawal at the end of 2006 left Bridgestone as the sport's sole supplier, a mantra which fell to Pirelli when it replaced the Japanese company for 2011.
Pirelli's current deal runs through 2019 and Isola does not expect Formula 1 to revert to a tyre war when the next contact cycle begins.
"It is a different situation," he said at the Autosport Show.
"At the moment, we supply the same product to all teams, so we put all the teams on the same level, in terms of tyres.
"If you open competition, you increase the costs because you need to test.
"You will have top teams with a better product compared to the midfield or lower teams as you don't have any obligation to supply the same tyres to everybody.
"You create a differential between the top teams and the others.
"Maybe with two or three tyre manufacturers, you can have a couple of teams fighting at top but the rest will be struggling for performance.
"With the tyre, you can easily find half a second or more, so you generate a bigger delta [between teams] compared to now."
Isola also reckons the introduction of the Hyper Soft compound will contribute to quicker lap times in 2018.
"I would like to see the Hyper Soft in some races this year, Monaco is probably the race where we're going to use it for the first time," he said.
"In terms of lap times, we will have faster lap times this year, because we should consider the development of the car that is probably roughly one second per lap as an average.
"Plus the fact that especially at the beginning of the season we are planning to use softer compounds.
"So in my expectation we should be quicker compared to last year by 1.5s per lap by average, it's a lot, it's another big step."