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FIA scraps plans to ban tyre warmers

tyre warmerTyre warmers will remain in Formula One next year, autosport.com can reveal, after the FIA agreed to scrap plans to impose a ban in 2009.

The governing body had been scheduled to scrap the use of tyre blankets to coincide with the return of slicks at the start of next season in a bid to improve the racing and cut costs.

But that move led to concern from drivers about safety implications, after they tried out slick rubber without warmers in winter testing.

With a big difference in laptimes between cars on cold tyres and those with warmed up rubber, drivers feared about the increased chance of accidents.

Bridgestone was adamant though that the rubber it planned to use would not cause any safety problems - and it told the FIA that it saw no reason to scrap the tyre warmer ban for this reason.

However, one way of guaranteeing tyre safety was for Bridgestone to impose a minimum tyre pressure limit and this was something the teams could not find a satisfactory way of imposing or policing.

Honda Racing team principal Ross Brawn told autosport.com recently: "You can run tyres for sure without blankets, lot of formulae do, but we are a particularly competitive formula and if you don't run blankets with tyres you need to have a minimum pressure control.

"We haven't worked out how to do that and that was the big concern how to introduce it fairly and effectively for all the teams? And how do you avoid the massive overhead of policing it?

"The TWG (Technical Working Group) said it wanted to keep tyre blankets because it could not see a solution to controlling minimum tyre pressure, and that was a big worry. So the option of having blankets was the easiest.

"And interestingly tyre blankets are not prohibited in testing, so for efficiency of testing we will almost certainly be using tyre blankets in testing. So we will have had them in testing and not racing."

The FIA agreed that the tyre pressure problem was insurmountable in the short term and, allied to the fact that there would be little reduction in costs because tyre blankets would still be used in testing, the governing body's World Council this week agreed to scrap the ban.

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