The smartest of the smartest technicians work in motorsport. Here and there, wings are trimmed by millimeters and suddenly the car goes a lot faster. Some solutions to squeeze that little bit of extra performance out of the car are a lot simpler. Nowadays, the teams in the DTM like to put their tires in the sun.
Unlike F1 (at least for now), racing teams are not allowed to use tire warmers. Warming up the tires is something you do on the track. At least, that is the approach. Motorsport would not be motorsport if the boundaries of the regulations were not pushed. That is why different teams came up with different ways to get tires up to temperature.
Tents with black tarpaulin were placed directly in the sun. A set of tires was sweating in the tent. Another team opened the pit box doors wide so that the sun could come in. Just where the warm light came in, the Pirellis were sunbathing. Yet another way was to place the trolley that takes the tires from A to B in the sun.
A DTM team has had enough
The Audi team Abt Sportline is now approaching the racing organization, the Deutsche Motor Sport Bund (DMSB). The DTM team wants to see penalties for competitors who use the sun as a tire warmer. In fact, the large rule book states: ‘Any device or method to increase the tire temperature above the ambient temperature is not permitted.’
In response to the loopholes and Abt’s request, the race management is issuing a clarification of the rules. The DMSB writes: ‘Exposing complete wheels to sunlight is considered a way to increase tire temperatures above ambient temperatures. The only exception is the stay of tires on the trolleys on the grid. The teams are therefore obliged to do everything they can to protect the wheels from sunlight.’
Meanwhile, Abt plays the best boy in the class. According to Abt’s (team) boss, Thomas Biermaier, the mechanics deliberately kept the tires out of the sun to comply with the regulations. We are curious whether the FIA is also watching. In 2025, the FIA will investigate, together with the tire supplier in F1, whether the tire blankets can also be removed from F1. If you follow F1 a little, you understand that these teams also like to handle the rules differently than they are intended.