As Motorsport.com reported on Friday, F1 teams, the FIA and the FOM are expected to hold a vote after this year’s British Grand Prix to decide whether or not to proceed with a tire warmer ban.
In the past there have been many attempts to ban tire heating, both for cost and sustainability reasons, but each time the efforts have been abandoned due to the complications of finding the right rubber.
Non-preheated tires have to cope with sudden changes in temperature and pressure, which is technically difficult, and drivers have expressed concerns about the lack of grip offered by cold tires straight out of the pits.
Pirelli has worked hard to try and find the right products and hopes that, when it tests its latest specifications after the Silverstone race, they may be enough to convince the teams to accept them.
However, deep skepticism remains within the paddock as to whether or not to go ahead with this move.
Speaking during pre-season testing in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton expressed his concerns about the matter and suggested there would be no benefit from the change.
“I think it’s dangerous,” he said, when asked by Motorsport.com about the situation with the tire warmers. “I tested the absence of electric blankets and sooner or later an accident will occur. So, I think it’s a wrong decision.”
“You have to do more laps to get the tires to work. The argument is that by removing the tyrewarmers you become more sustainable and greener, but in reality you just burn more fuel to get them up to temperature.”
“The biggest concern is when you leave the pits: you skid and the car is very nervous. If someone else is putting on tires that already work, it’s easy to collide with them. So, it’s useless.”
Hamilton’s doubts about the benefits of this ban were echoed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
“I still don’t understand why F1 is moving away from tyrewarmers, because it makes no sense to me,” he explained.
“You burn more fuel, more tyres. Even when it comes to sustainability, I don’t understand the philosophy. Also, there are risks with these low-height cars.”
“But it’s a direction that F1, the FIA and Pirelli have decided to take, so we have to adapt.”
The Mercedes pit crew with tyres in warmers
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Mario Isola, head of motorsport at Pirelli, said the final decision on tire warmers will have to take into account more than just sustainability, and said he was not sure the teams would ultimately back it.
“I don’t have a clear feeling and honestly it’s hard to make a prediction,” he said.
“I think it’s everyone’s goal to go in this direction for sustainability, but clearly nobody wants to harm the show.”
“I don’t want to say it’s an impossible goal, because it’s not an impossible goal. But it’s a very big challenge.”
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