Criticism of 2019 tyres 'totally wrong' - Pirelli

Pirelli has hit back at claims its 2019 tyres only suit the dominant Mercedes car.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko goes so far as to call the thinner-treaded Pirellis for this year "Mercedes tyres", telling Auto Bild: "Unfortunately our drink cans are not delivered with tyres."

Mario Isola, Pirelli's F1 boss, told Italy's Tuttosport: "It's totally wrong to say that we produce the tyres for Mercedes.

"The FIA, FOM, the teams and the drivers were involved in the acceptance of these tyres," he insisted.

"Last year we suffered so much from blisters and the drivers complained about the tyres overheating so we tried to improve.

"The new tyres were tested in Abu Dhabi so that comparisons with the 2018 tyres could be made.  We brought the same identical compounds to the Barcelona tests and still no one complained.

"Mercedes is winning because they designed a very strong car.  These tyres require more energy and if you have a fast car it is easier to use them," Isola added.

Nonetheless, he said it is possible the tyres could be changed.

"Yes, but seven of the ten teams or the FIA must ask for it and no request has been received," said Isola.