- Motorsport director at Pirelli Mario Isola has addressed safety issues raised by Mercedes driver
- The usage of tyre warmers has been a focus of Formula 1’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly
- It is abolishing this approach starting 2024
Motorsport director at Pirelli Mario Isola has addressed safety issues raised by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton following tyre blankets removal.
The usage of tyre warmers has been a focus of Formula 1’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly, and the sport plans to outright abolish them starting the 2024 season.
Pirelli and Formula 1 intend to take further action. Teams have already seen a reduction in the maximum temperature permitted and a reduction in the permitted time when using them.
Even with the well-intended objectives behind F1’s ideas, the drivers’ response has been somewhat muted. Hamilton, in a test this year of the proposed 2024 compound said he felt it was irrational and a bad precedent to ban the tyre blankets.
On his part, Isola said that Hamilton erred in his test because he did it in extremely chilly conditions and that the rubber he used wasn’t the final product.
“Lewis tested the tyres in Paul Ricard at the beginning of February. It was quite cold in that period and clearly we tested some tyres that are not the final version of the tyres that we want to homologate without blankets,” Isola told the press.
He noted that they have talked about doing away with blankets in the past, and the FIA, F1 teams, Pirelli, and promoters all share the idea that carbon neutrality should be attained by 2030.
Isola added that every step stakeholders can take in making Formula One more environmentally friendly is critical. One of those measures is to get rid of the blankets and stop using power to pre-warm the tyres.
The Pirelli boss explained that some F1 drivers weren’t happy with where they were on their tyres. Thus, they tested some rainy weather tyres prior to Christmas and discovered a novel material that can function without blankets.
Pirelli made a comparison between the new and the old tyre with blankets in cold weather and on all three different circuits with three separate teams. Five team drivers involved in the test gave positive feedback on the new approach.
Therefore, the plan is to get rid of blankets from tyres used to race during the cold season and the F1 commission has given a nod to this development.
The manufacturer is now in another phase of coming up with an intermediate tyre that can operate without the blankets and manufacture slick tyres this year.
Admittedly, Isola said it is a huge task to manufacture tyres for use by F1 cars without blankets.
The designing needs a lot of time which starts with the collection of data and subsequent analysis beginning in July.
Besides Hamilton’s safety concerns with the new Pirelli tyres without blankets, he allayed his fear that their cars required more fuel to bring the tyres to the required temperature.
He said that if you do four or more laps to get the right grip, you end up spending more fuel which Pirelli and F1 should look into in their development phase.
Isola said while more gasoline is needed it is a perfect balance.
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