Mercedes: Thinner treads making 2019 Pirelli tyres a 'science'

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has described the task of understanding this year's Pirelli tyres as a "science".

Following complaints about the amount of blistering in 2018, the Italian supplier opted to switch to a thinner-treaded design which was used at newly-surfaced circuits last year.

It was generally accepted then that the tweak favoured Mercedes over their rivals and that has been the case again this season with both Red Bull and Ferrari struggling on the soft compounds.

However, Wolff insists the engineers are simply going through the normal stage of adjusting to the different characteristics.

"I think there's actually a wider operating window [with the 2019 tyres] but I think it's the usual learning slope," he was quoted by

"When you've had a tyre for a long time, all your data and all your simulations are based around a certain compound and a certain structure.

"Then suddenly the tread changes from one year to the other, all your learning is basically not so relevant anymore.

"It's also about adaptability, the team that learns quickest to understand the new circumstances."

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The most sensitive aspect has been the temperatures with some teams struggling to get enough heat into the compounds.

As the Mercedes boss noted, however, achieving the right operating window can be hit and miss for everyone.

"[In Practice 3 in Baku] we didn't do anything different, we just didn't have the tyre in the window," he said, explaining a lack of pace.

"Then it was also about seeking the right compromise between qualifying and the race.

"Max Verstappen was the quickest guy on track [at the end of the race], then a virtual safety car, the tyre doesn't come back and he's struggling to put heat in the tyre and generate grip. He came on the radio saying 'I have no grip'.

"That is the science where every team gradually progresses and tries to understand their performance better."