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Coulthard wants tyre warmer ban U-turn

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) is going to be asked by David Coulthard to try and help overturn a ban on the use of tyre warmers in Formula One, autosport.com can reveal.

Coulthard has serious concerns that the outlawing of tyre warmers, due to come into force from the start of 2009, will have serious safety implications. Slick tyres are also expected to return to F1 in 2009, although the move is yet to be confirmed.

In the wake of the first batch of slick tyre testing at Jerez in Spain last week, Coulthard fears that the large temperature differentials between the tyres on cars that have had time to get up to full operating speed, and those just out of the pits and warming up, could lead to dangerous variations in the speed of cars on track.

Speaking to autosport.com, Coulthard said: "I am quite concerned about the temperature differential between the cars, especially in qualifying.

"I have talked to quite a few drivers about it and they all shared the same opinion that without the blankets (tyre warmers), when a car from the pits joins the track when other cars are on a hot lap, it is pretty scary. There is such a big difference of speed."

Testing at Jerez in Spain last week suggested that cars on cold slick tyres were several seconds per laps slower than those on warmed-up rubber.

Coulthard also thinks the dangers are increased because the lower temperature of fresh tyres on a car will result in a loss of tyre pressure - which can further exacerbate the speed differential.

He thinks the situation reminds him of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, when low tyre pressures after a slow safety car period were believed to have contributed to Ayrton Senna's fatal crash.

"Don't forget the different tyre pressures. The tyres are operating in a very different temperature range, and we are talking about some cars with 20psi and others that have just 14psi. This is another Senna situation."

Coulthard thinks the situation is worrying enough for him that he has vowed to bring it up in the next meeting of the GPDA, which is likely to take place during one of the January tests.

"It is a serious concern for safety," he said. "I am planning to talk it through in the GPDA. There are not more meetings this year, but in the new year this issue has to be discussed."

Despite his reservations about no tyre blankets, Coulthard said he was encouraged by the first experience of slick tyres, and especially how they felt with no traction control.

"I have driven with and without traction control in several formulas, and clearly it gives us more work," he said. "You need to pay more attention in the corners. But on the slicks, they definitely give you more grip and bring the predictability of the car back.

"But don't forget that I was running in Jerez with 2008 levels of down force. That is not what we will have when we get the slicks (in 2009)."

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