Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes that Pirelli should be briefed to produce a tyre that will allow drivers to race more closely, and thinks that the sport was wrong to ask them to go in the 'softer' direction.
Pirelli has produced softer tyres over the last number of years, with the ultra soft and hyper soft compound being introduced. However, most of the races have resulted in one-stop strategies due to teams and drivers being able to preserve the tyres for long distance.
In Brazil, drivers met with officials to discuss the high tyre management that occurred in Russia and Mexico: "I think Pirelli had a good meeting with the drivers,” said Wolff. “We have expressed our support for Pirelli because we know that it is a difficult task to manage.
“But I think in the past years we have simply asked the wrong things from Pirelli by making the compounds softer and softer, trying to trigger degradation and therefore more pit stops. The clever strategists have [realised] the fastest race time is about managing those tyres and still try to achieve a one-stop, or a two-stop sometimes. So completely the wrong direction.”
Wolff stated that Pirelli should be told to produce 'robust' tyres that allow the drivers to push hard and fight closely: “We need robust tyres, which Pirelli is perfectly able to produce,” he said. “They just need to be given the right tasks or the right objectives.
“And then the drivers can push the tyre harder, they can stay in the wake of the car driving in front and we are not seeing blistering or deg that causes these seven seconds [pace reductions].”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing