Lando Norris has taken aim at Pirelli’s tyres, insisting the soft compound used on the final restart of the Australian Grand Prix is not up to F1’s standards and was in large part responsible for the chaos that ensued.
In Melbourne, the stewards chose to relaunch the race after Kevin Magnussen’s brush with the wall with a third and final standing start.
With only a handful of laps remaining, drivers opted to restart on the soft tyre. But mayhem occurred at the first corner where Carlos Sainz tagged Fernando Alonso while behind, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant veered off course into the gravel trap.
Further down the road at Turn 3, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll also slid off the track, caught out by his cold tyres while both Alpine’s crashed into each other, which triggered the third red flag of the day.
After the race, Norris said the inefficiency of Pirelli’s soft rubber was to blame for the pandemonium.
“Nothing against them, but the people who make decisions don’t know what’s going on inside the car,” said the McLaren driver who finished sixth.
“We have a soft [tyre] on that’s 65 degrees [Centigrade] and I can’t describe how little grip there is on track.
“It’s not a bad temperature. But the tyre doesn’t work and on this surface with this tyre temperature, I can’t describe how bad the grip is.
“That’s why you see everyone going straight on in Turn 1 and locking up… it provides literally no grip, so you have to brake so early, which causes chaos and causes incidents.”
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Adding insult to injury as he criticized Pirelli’s tyre, Norris said the company’s current 23-inch product was “terrible” and not up to Formula 1’s standards.
“If the tyres felt like they gave us some grip, I think you’d be able to see a good race without chaos and some clumsiness and things like that. It’s just difficult,” he added.
“I wouldn’t say it’s clumsy from everyone. It’s just you’re racing and there’s no grip, as simple as that.
“We need a tyre that gives us some more grip and actually a tyre that feels like it should be on a Formula 1 car at the top of motorsport and at the moment, on a day like today, it feels pretty terrible.”
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