Amidst numerous criticism around the paddock and concerns for safety from almost everyone associated to Formula One, Pirelli has made some changes to its 2013 spec tyres.
As previously mentioned in the British Grand Prix review, when five tyre failures occurred throughout the grand prix weekend (four in the race whilst running on racing speed), Pirelli has since then been under huge pressure to deliver some alterations to ease the fear of further tyre blowouts and ensure the safety of all drivers is highlighted.
During the race in Silverstone, there were a few radio messages between the drivers and their race engineers in which they discussed the changing of tyre pressures during pit stops. Most F1 cars often have tyre pressures at a high level but different for each cars as the pressure affects the handling and balance of the car. Higher tyre pressure provides better grip, but due to the numerous tyre failures in the race the race engineers visited the thought of reducing rear tyre pressure of their cars. A move which of course reduces the car’s grip on the track but such was the severity of the situation that safety was very much on everyone’s agenda.
Another aspect of tyre failure which has been common this season is tyre delamination. Delamination is where the tread construction of the tyre disintegrates and comes off from the belt of the tyre. Drivers like Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Force India’s Paul DiResta have both suffered from delaminations this season.
Part of Pirelli’s effort to redesign this season’s tyre to eliminate this problem has been rejected by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). After the race earlier this season in Barcelona, Pirelli wanted to make changes to the tyres amid complaints that the 2013 spec tyres are having fragilities that made tyre-management too important in races. It proposed reverting to the type of tyre specification run in 2012, but keeping the type of compounds in 2013. FIA said this is against the rules.
However, effective immediately the following changes will be made by Pirelli to their tyres starting from the German Grand Prix in Nurburgring:
Rear Tyre Belt Change
Kevlar-belted rear tyres will be used on all cars, as opposed to the current steel belt variant. Kevlar-belted rears provide approximately a 10 degree drop in temperature upon running, which increases tyre life. Even though the 2013 high-performance steel-belted version is completely safe upon correct usage, the Kevlar-belted version is easily manageable.
Tyre Operating Procedures
Minimum starting pressure front and rear – 16psi
Minimum stabilised running pressure front – 20psi
Minimum stabilised running pressure rear – 19psi
Maximum negative EOS camber front – 4.0 degrees
Maximum negative EOS camber rear – 2.5 degrees
Front and rear tyres must be used on the side of the car for which they were originally designated (no swapping from side-to-side)
Now that Pirelli has done its part, it is onto the teams to run these altered tyres starting from Free Practice 1 in Nurburgring come Friday morning. Inevitably everyone around the paddock will be finger crossing for a consistent dry weather running throughout the German Grand Prix weekend.