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F1 will avoid sunshine tyre tricks if tyre blanket ban happens

Pirelli is confident Formula 1 will avoid having teams use sunshine trickery to help warm rubber if a tyre blanket ban goes ahead.

Pirelli tyres in the paddock

F1 chiefs are eyeing a move to ban tyre warmers from 2025, even though previous attempts to push through on outlawing them have all fallen through late on.

The belief is that removing the need for teams to transport the blankets, as well as run them on race weekends, will deliver significant sustainability benefits.

Other international motor racing series do operate without tyre blankets, but this has left the door open for some trickery from teams in trying to find alternative ways to get heat into their rubber.

As reported recently, the DTM was at the centre of intrigue earlier this year amid accusations of teams using sunlight to warm tyres, which was viewed as being in contravention of 'measures' that lifted tyre temperatures above ambient.

There was talk of teams leaving garage doors wide open and placing tyres in locations to take advantage of direct sunlight – or even placing tyres on grid trolleys early and leaving them outside in the pitlane.

Teams were also said to be using tyre tents made of black tarpaulin to act as a mini oven to help lift temperatures.

While Pirelli is aware of such antics taking place in other categories, head of car racing Mario Isola thinks such activities will not work in F1.

He thinks the complexities of tyre temperature management in F1, allied to the rigorous nature of rule enforcement, would act as deterrents for teams trying it out.

"If I look at F1, they are quite strict with regulations," he said. "In GT, where obviously regulations are not so strict, you can have any kind of invention to warm the tyre before going on track.

"Some of these systems like hot boxes can be quite good, but I remember in the past they were not because you would have one tyre at 100 degrees, and the last one at 40 degrees. So, it was a disaster.

"Or you can have teams warming the tyres in the sun. But if you expose the tyres to the sun, you have also other side effects, like the UV rays. They can have an impact on the compound and not all the tyres in the set are at the same temperature or in same conditions."

Tyres

Tyres

Photo by: DTM

One other complication, Isola points out, is that leaving tyres in the sun also means that often only one side of the wheel will be heated up – something that is not great for car performance.

"We've seen mechanics having to rotate the tyres," he said. "It is not good to have a part of the tyre that is overcooked and the rest of the tyre that is cold."

If F1 goes ahead with a tyre blanket ban, then it will almost certainly outlaw any means of teams trying to heat their rubber above ambient temperatures.

And while such rules have proved difficult to enforce in other categories where there is not the resources to closely scrutineer every team, Isola says F1 is a different matter.

"We have to consider that F1 is a different level championship, " he explained.

"We always have a lot of conversation with the promoters in order to impose the minimum pressures, to control the camber. It's what we do in F1.

"The regulations are very precise. In other championships, you don't have all these people. So, it's really difficult for the promoter or the governing body to ensure that the teams are respecting the rules.

"You have to pay attention to write rules that are applicable because if you write rules that are not applicable, it's completely useless.

"If you're talking about a national championship, you have maybe 35 cars and you have two scrutineers; you cannot ask them to police the pressure of the tyres."

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