What would Formula One be if everyone was actually happy about potential changes? I couldn’t tell you, because every single F1 team has unanimously voted to ditch Pirelli’s new 2020-spec tires because they apparently suck that bad.
The 2020 tires were intended to be a sort of intermediary step between 2019's spec and the new spec to be introduced in 2021. In 2021, we’ll see lower-profile 18" wheels that are far more robust than the current high-degradation tires we’re used to. Basically, tires that last longer will theoretically enable better, harder on-track battles, since drivers won’t have to be so concerned about babying their tires. The 2020 spec was supposed to take us a step closer to those goals.
The prototype 2020 spec... was designed to reduce tyre degradation, provide a wider working range of temperature and lower overheating in dirty air.
The only problem is, everyone hated it. If you watched Free Practice 1 at the United States Grand Prix, where the 2020 spec tires were debuted, you’d have seen a bunch of drivers taking off-track excursions. That’s because there was a significant lack of grip, which made it hard to do... pretty much anything. While Pirelli initially blamed that on the unseasonably cold temperatures in Austin, a post-season test at Abu Dhabi displayed the same results: there’s just not enough grip.
As a result, every single F1 team has unanimously decided to stick with the 2019-spec tires that wear out pretty quickly. Pirelli was pretty sure this was going to happen and stated back at the US GP that it would be prepared for this development should it arise.
If you were hoping tires would play a more crucial role in making F1 exciting in 2020, you’re going to be out of luck, my friend. We’ll just have to twiddle our thumbs and wait for Pirelli to learn from its mistakes and introduce a (hopefully) better tire for 2021.