Pirelli released their finding on the tire issues experienced at the Belgian Grand Prix earlier today and the fallout has been mixed.
Sebastian Vettel is pleased with the response from Pirelli and so is Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Vettel said:
“We’ve been looking very closely into the issue we had,” said Vettel.
“Pirelli has been supportive and very open in the discussions, which is the most important thing, and to make sure we learn from that.
“They have been very, very professional, have handled it with extreme care, very seriously, things are going the right way, and our target now is to improve the situation and make progress.
“And what’s more important than any sort of press release is the feeling I got when I spoke to the engineers and to Pirelli.”
While Rosberg is quoted as saying:
“It has been handled with extreme precision and a lot of energy has gone into it, which I’m happy to see because it requires that,” he said.
“I’m confident we’ll be driving safely.”
But one guy who didn’t suffer a blowout like Vettel and Rosberg isn’t too happy with Pirelli’s suggestion and remedy of adding 5psi to the air pressure in the tires for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
That guy would be current world champion Lewis Hamilton who said:
“In terms of putting the pressures up, I don’t think it’s the right thing, but they might not do it anyway.
“But I don’t think any of us have tried 5psi more because they are not designed to have 5psi more; they work in a range. So we will be moving out of the optimum range of the tyre, we’ll be using a different part of the tyre, which means more wear, less grip. It’s going to be a disaster.
“ So I hope they don’t put 5pis more in. A couple is ok.”
So the two drivers who were impacted by the event were fine with it but Lewis says this is going to be a disaster. Clearly this would be a different operating parameter the drivers would notice.
I went to our own professional driver, Paul Charsley, to get the lowdown on just how that would impact the situation.
“(It’s) a massive change, you would normally be working with 1 or 2psi increments. It would not be an adjustable an adjustable parameter so everything changes.
Springs, shocks, ride height etc. Everything changes. Go add 25% more air to your BMW and see how that feels. The cars are designed around the tire so the implications are huge. It certainly could be a huge impact and shake the grid up.”
I’m not a professional driver but Paul is so I take his word for it regarding the impact on the chassis. I do know the cars are designed around the tire, that’s why they are not at all happy about Michelin’s desire to move toward an 18″ wheel. It would radically impact the chassis they have been designing around all these years and a low-profile tire is not necessarily the best for F1.
Many believed that the outcome of Pirelli’s analysis would be a mandated lap limit per compound meaning 15 laps for softs, 20 laps for mediums. As it is, Pirelli are recommending teams move from 17/18psi to 22/23psi per tire.