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Pirelli’s Mario Isola: “The performance gaps between the compounds are definitely bigger”

Mario Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, admitted the gaps in performance between the different compounds at the Bahrain International Circuit are bigger than they had anticipated, and this will likely make the decision to which tyre to use at the race start a difficult one.

Isola says he expects conditions to be considerably warmer on race day than they were during Friday’s second free practice session, although he expects teams to have got a lot of knowledge about how the tyres will work come Sunday.

He was also impressed by the pace of the new-for-2022 cars, with Max Verstappen’s best lap time just over a second down on the pace shown by 2021 cars, despite the tyres being one step harder than they were last year.

“Conditions in the key FP2 session were quite cool, while the race will probably take place in warmer temperatures,” said Isola.  “The performance gaps between the compounds are definitely bigger than the targets agreed and it will be interesting to see what effect this has on strategy, when it comes to deciding whether to use the soft or the medium tyre to start the race.

“We saw no graining in the cool conditions of FP2, despite the abrasive surface in Bahrain. Although they had a brand new package, the teams carried out their usual run plans this evening, with performance runs at the beginning of FP2 before concentrating on long runs in the final part.

“The FP2 lap times so far look impressive, with the cars only around 1.2 seconds off the equivalent times from the same session last season – when they had a compound that was one step softer than this year.”

Credit: Pirelli Motorsport

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