Pirelli's motorsport head Mario Isola says that Formula 1 teams turned down plans to scrap the rule that forced half fo the field to start on old tyres. Drivers who make it into Q3, the final stage of qualifying, must start the race on the tyres they set their fastest Q2 lap on.
This rule was introduced in 2014, before which, drivers started the race they set their fastest Q3 time on. Throughout the 2018 season, there were cases where a team opted not to send their driver out in Q2, so they had a free choice of tyre to start the race on.
Calls where made to get rid of the rule, but Isola says that this was rejected by the teams: “There was a proposal to remove the rule that obliges the top 10 to start with the tyres using in quali but it was not approved,” he said. “At this point of the year you need unanimity to change the rules for next year, no changes are planned.”
Isola believes that the solution can be fixed by selecting more conservative tyres for the weekend, which should force the teams onto the softest compound: “If we go a bit more conservative in the selection I think that in quali there is no reason to try to use the medium, the one in the middle, instead of the softest, because the advantage is probably less."
There were also discussions about increasing the mandatory pit stop count during a race from one to two. This was also declined, and Isola doubts that it would have improved the show.
“I’m not sure it’s the right solution because there is the big risk that everybody stops on the same lap, or very close, so basically you are just generating shorter stints where probably drivers can push more," he said.
"They can use the softest available compound because the stints are shorter but there is no variation in the strategies. This doesn’t mean that it is a worse situation. It could be good, we don’t know. We asked the teams to make some simulations to understand how they can react to a change of regulation.
“For me that’s an important point," Isola added. "Any time there is an idea before trying to implement the idea it is very useful that we go back to the teams and we tell them try to make a simulation with these rules and see what happens because sometimes we believe that we have a very good idea and we discover it is not.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing