Poll: should tyre warmers be banned?

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This poll is now closed. The results are as follows:

Yes 101
29% of all votes

No 224
65% of all votes

Don’t know 21
6% of all votes

Debate rumbles on over F1’s planned ban of tyre warmers for next year. Last year drivers including David Coulthard criticised the move to ban tyre warmers in 2009, when slick tyres will return to F1. He called it: “another Senna situation“.

In response tyre suppliers Bridgestone promised to bring revised compounds to the slick tyre test at Barcelona which the teams are currently in the middle of. But Pedro de la Rosa is still not happy:

The first lap is very slow, and that’s the danger. There are cars which are up to racing speed and you are coming out of the pits very slowly. You are like a mobile chicane.

That’s the problem that this kind of rules has. But Bridgestone has taken a big step forward and we still need to improve a lot.

As far as I’m concerned banning tyre warmers is definitely a good thing because it makes life more difficult for the driver – and I think Formula 1 should be the most challenging form of motor sport there is.

I understand the argument against it on grounds of safety. And I do feel the concerns of some drivers should be listened to because they are the only ones who really know what they are talking about.

However there are a few things we should consider. First, tyre warmers are banned in other top single seater categories such as Indy racing, and the drivers cope just fine.

Also tyre warmers weren’t common in F1 until the mid-1980s, and the drivers coped just fine then as well. (It certainly wasn’t the case, as I saw one forum contributor remark recently, that “cars spinning off just after they pitted was a common sight.”)

I’m glad to see de la Rosa hasn’t immediately called for the ban to be scrapped and is instead calling for Bridgestone to find a solution.

Getting a tyre up to temperature on the track is a key part of a racing driver’s skill that is commonplace outside of F1 and is something we should see more of, not less. The entire reason we saw such an exciting end to the European Grand Prix last year was because the leader did not treat his tyres correctly after a pit stop.

More of that please. Tyre warmers should be banned.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Poll: should tyre warmers be banned?”

  1. If we have to have pitstops then I also think there should be a way of maximising the penalty for actually making one. This seems like a way to do that.

    The ideal situation would be for the tyres to behave in a way that would prevent leapfrogging, if that is possible.

  2. well, the comment above makes an interesting point. but as long as the difference in performance between cold and warm tyres remains as big as it is now it will create dangerous situations on the track.

    before banning tyre warmers something should be done about tyres first 

  3. Isn’t F1 rather in the minority in its use of tyre warmers? Don’t most racing series manage without them?

  4. Getting a tyre up to temperature on the track is a key part of a racing driver’s skill that is commonplace outside of F1 and is something we should see more of, not less.

    That is the key point Keith!

  5. Proper slicks & no warmers….

  6. The (huge) difference with the other sports is simply the grip of tyres.

    As a general rule of thumb The higher the tyre’s grip, the narrower is the temperature window.

    That’s why the actual slicks warm after two laps but experience degradation on long run (you go outside the temperature enveloppe).

    So comparing with the other series is pointless.

    I have to recall you that next year about half the downforce of a champ car will be allowed on F1 cars…just imagine the grip the slicks tyres tested now develop.

    All drivers were amazed by the level of grip of the tyres, so an F1 slick tyre has nothing to see with a champ car one and even less with an indy one.

    Comparing the older F1 tyres is not relevant either as the grip levels were not the same.

    let’s wait for the next session in july, i’m sure brigestone will provide better tyres.

  7. Other thing is that the older cars were heavier and more powerful generating more torque. These are things that don’t exist in the current F1 cars and shouldn’t be overlooked as something like torque would make a difference on tyres.

    If you want competitiveness then something should be done about the aerodynamics and then other driver aids such as the semi-automatic gearbox. Get that clutch pedal back in!

  8. My biggest concern with the banning of tire warmers is that the rule will be very difficult to enforce.  There’s debate going on right now in the SCCA (US amateur racing) about this very thing.  Everyone universially wants to ban the warmers (when your budget comes out of your own pocket, you really want cost reducing rules)… but nobody has found a way to write the rule in such a way as to reduce loopholes.

    I know there’s specifically referring to the electric tire blankets… but what about placing the wheels/tires in an oven beforehand?  What about just turning the heat up REALLY high in the garage?  What about just storing them in a warm truck?  Laying them out in the sun?  Under a solar blanket?

    I’m sure you can all imagine plenty of ways to put an extra few degrees into the tire before putting them onto the car.  Considering the difference these few degrees will make (which may be huge), we could see some very unique behaviors in the pits.

  9. I say: ban the drivers that complain on a comfort basis, as Massa who complained about TC, and DC who complains about just everything.

  10. It´s very easy to make the tyre temperature rise as Scootin159 says.

    Another one.  You can brake the front wheels and acelerate the rear ones and controlate that slip when going out the pitlane.

  11. I think this would be a real step backwards for safety. I recall Gerhard Berger coming out of the pits on cold tyres and completely losing control. It was an almighty shunt.

    As Scootin159 says, they’ll just figure out ways around it. Inflate with hot gas, hire fat people to keep tyres in their overalls, secret microwaves heating the tyres and sterilizing the pit crew, whatever…

    This is not the kind of difficulty I think a driver should cope with. As it is, all too often one sees a driver not racing and the commentator says "He’s trying to spare his tyres." To my mind, tyres are too important in racing today, although I don’t see any alternative. Perhaps some sort of non-graining compound that allows a driver to go flat out for half a race, even if the grip is less?

  12. Are you referring to Berger’s crash at Estoril in 1993? That was blamed on his active suspension not being set up correctly – I never heard anyone say cold tyres were the cause. Besides which, they did have tyre warmers in 1993.

  13. You’re probably right, Keith. I recall the commentator at the time blaming Gerhard for not realising his tyres were cold and accelerating too hard.

    Nonetheless, I don’t want to see a driver pussyfooting around the track warming his tyres while the others are screaming by, or being held up. Balls to the wall racing, 100% of the time, is the ideal.

  14. James Steventon
    20th April 2008, 18:06

    I remember reading once that, in the wake of Senna’s fatal crash in 1994, a dramatic drop in tyre pressure was one of several different theories into the cause of the crash.
    Naturally, a drop in pressure, due to the tyres not running to temperature, allowed the car’s ride height to drop, increasing
    the chances of bottoming out.
    Now, that may well be a large reason for why F1 still insists on
    using tyre warmers. I think that tyre warmers should be dropped and for some simple reasons.
    Majority of circuits used by F1 are now to a much higher standard than they were years ago. The track surfaces are smoother, and more forgiving. Fast corners, such as Turn 8 in
    Turkey for instance, have huge run offs to allow for mistakes.
    The issue, for me anyway, is not as large a one as if was say ten years ago. Pit stops would be far more interesting, for the fans atleast, if drivers were given cold ‘slick’ tyres instead of preheated ‘grooved’ tyres.
    Mistakes would be far more common place, as drivers would still have to push, but in the knowledge that they still had to
    get their tyres up to temperature.
    The biggest dramas, years ago, often occured when drivers had just left their pit on a cold set of Goodyears. That was
    always Montoya’s strong point, an ability to run very well on cold tyres. Atleast, in his American open wheel years anyway.

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