Pirelli "where we want to be" ahead of 2024 blanket F1 tyre call

Pirelli believes it has done all it can to demonstrate that it can run its Formula 1 tyres without blankets in 2024 ahead of a decision later this week.

Pirelli tyres outside of the Alpine garage

However, the consensus in the paddock is that blankets will ultimately be kept for slicks next season, with only wets and possibly intermediates running without them.

The matter will be discussed at the F1 Commission in Spa on Friday after Pirelli submitted a report on its testing programme to the FIA.

The 2024 regulations currently state that blankets will be used next year, and the FIA has to decide whether Pirelli has done enough to demonstrate that its tyres can run without them before putting the decision to a vote of the team bosses.

The teams already agreed earlier this year to introduce wet tyres without blankets, with the new tyres first used on track in the Monaco race.

However, they rejected a later attempt to also make the switch for intermediates within the course of this season, despite it being accepted that the tyres were ready for use.

It's believed that blanket-free inters are likely to be accepted for 2024.

Meanwhile, the slick testing programme has been ongoing, with the last test ahead of the decision taking place at Silverstone two weeks ago, with Red Bull, Williams and Haas taking part.

While the new tyres get up to temperature within a few corners of leaving the pits, team insiders have suggested that they need to demonstrate that on a wider range of tracks after running at Bahrain, Barcelona and Silverstone – venues where it's easier to get heat into the tyres.

Inevitably, should the FIA put the question to a vote, some teams will not be keen to change a key element that might adversely affect their form next year.

However, Pirelli remains confident that it has made its case to run without blankets.

"In general we are happy and we have defined a document for evaluation of the F1 Commission by the team principals," said chief engineer Simone Berra. "So we are where we wanted to be at this point of the season.

Pirelli tyres outside of the McLaren motorhome

Pirelli tyres outside of the McLaren motorhome

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

"Then obviously we have other tests, we have Spa, then we have Monza, then we have the in-competition tests. The development phase, it's not yet finished.

"So we still have some something to test, some new compounds. Construction is almost finalised. We are really looking for the compounds."

The question remains how the tyre might impact racing in terms of strategy, while there are also question marks about how no-blanket slicks will behave straight out of the pitlane in cool and damp conditions when the track is transitioning.

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One intriguing aspect of the upcoming decision is that even if blanket-free slicks are not accepted for 2024, Pirelli remains committed to testing them with Aston Martin and McLaren at Spa next week, as it will be too late to change the programme. 

The Spa testing will thus in effect be for possible introduction in 2025. However, it's still not known whether Pirelli or Bridgestone will win the F1 tyre tender that starts that season.

A decision is set to be made in the summer break, and if the Japanese manufacturer gets the nod then there will be no point in Pirelli continuing its blanket-free programme at September's Monza test, and it is likely to focus instead on standard tyre development for 2024.

Intriguingly, that could hand a slight advantage to the teams taking part – Red Bull and Alpine - as they will be working on the definitive 2024 race tyres, whereas other teams who conducted Pirelli testing this year will have only tested with the abandoned blanket-free versions.

All teams will however be able to run the final 2024 tyres in the post-Abu Dhabi test.

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