Formula One is sticking with Pirelli’s controversial 2019 tyres for the rest of the season.
The sport’s major players, including drivers Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, got together on Friday morning to take a vote on switching to the 2018 tyres with a thicker tread.
But according to Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, there were other ideas floated at the Red Bull Ring.
“Gunther Steiner suggested 20 kilos of ballast for us, and Franz Tost 10 kilos less fuel flow,” he said.
Mario Isola, the Pirelli boss, admitted that the meeting was about improving the dubious “show” being put on by the sport this year.
But the teams voted 5-5, resulting in no change.
An insider reports that a frustrated Vettel spoke up when it was clear that the teams could not agree.
“What we should agree is that in the future we let Ross (Brawn) decide alone,” the Ferrari driver reportedly said.
Earlier, it was believed only the Mercedes-powered teams plus McLaren wanted to stick with the 2019 tyres. But Renault has now joined that party.
“We would also like to have other tyres, but you can’t change everything just because one team has done a better job than the rest,” said Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul.
What was decided is that the teams will have a bigger say in the tyres for 2020 and beyond.
“In the future, Pirelli would produce the compounds earlier, so that maybe we can test them on Fridays,” said Wolff.
Isola confirmed: “At the moment they are just ideas. Let’s see.”
Mercedes is hopeful that a championship already dismissed as ‘boring’ by many insiders will become more exciting naturally. Indeed, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fastest in Austria on Friday, and Mercedes claims it will be more strongly challenged throughout the weekend.
“They only say that because of the monotony that after eight races there were eight Mercedes victories,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told Krone newspaper.
“They also want things to be more exciting, but that’s the only reason for what they said. Mercedes is really good, unfortunately also here in Spielberg,” he added.