Pirelli hard tyre, Silverstone, 2013

FIA imposes limits on tyre use to prevent punctures

2013 German Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Pirelli hard tyre, Silverstone, 2013The FIA has instructed team to obey limits on tyre pressure and camber angle throughout the German Grand Prix weekend.

It has also ordered teams not to swap the tyres between different sides of the car. The restrictions have been imposed following a request by Pirelli.

Pirelli had requested teams be restricted in how they use the tyres to prevent a repeat of the spate of tyre explosions seen during the British Grand Prix weekend.

The FIA has imposed minimum starting front and rear tyre pressures of 16psi and minimum running pressures of 20psi for front tyres and 19psi for rears. Maximum camber angles of four degrees at the front and 2.5 degrees at the rear have also been stipulated.

“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),” an FIA statement added.

“It will be the responsibility of each team to satisfy the FIA technical delegate that their cars comply with the following requirements at all times.”

2013 German Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 German Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

39 comments on “FIA imposes limits on tyre use to prevent punctures”

  1. Very sensible.

    1. It shouldn’t have come to this – because this isn’t the first time the FIA have been forced to make Pirelli’s recommendations mandatory to avoid potentially-dangerous tyre issues. At the 2011 Belgian Grand Prix, Red Bull ran their cars with camber settings outside Pirelli’s recommendations in qualifying in the name of more straight line speed. They discovered blistering on the tyres, and lobbied hard to get permission to change them for the race. The FIA refused, as Red Bull had damaged their tyres themselves. They then made the recommendations given by Pirelli mandatory for the Italian Grand Prix to stop the problem from coming up again.

      The teams clearly have learned nothing from the experience.

      1. Increased camber doesn’t get you straight line speed, it gets you grip in corners.

    2. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      5th July 2013, 14:25

      Pirelli’s image have been hurted. If ones had a puncture while running Bridgestone, everyone would say tough luck or they’re using it at low pressure or having contact with another. With Pirelli, now it’s all poor construction or manufacturing defects.

      1. It isn’t fair that Pirelli’s image gets ruined for the teams using the tyres outside of their specification though. Pirellli have tested the limits of these tyres before they go on the cars and have given the teams levels not to exceed. The teams have gone beyond these limits and the tyres have failed – surprise, surprise.

        I can see the bigger picture here and completely refuse to put any blame on Pirelli. It’s a shambles when Pirelli have to go to the FIA to enforce their limits because the teams are just ignoring them and then blaming them when things go wrong when they are using the tyres outside of their limits.

        1. “I … refuse to put any blame on Pirelli” is dubious. If it’s just a question of minimum pressures and maximum camber, why has this problem never surfaced before? If it’s a question of direction of rotation, why has Pirelli never enforced it? Above all, why did they introduce steel construction and now revert to kevlar mid-season and mid-fiasco? All this points to Pirelli, despite Hembury’s weazle wording; the teams and drivers only try to go as fast as possible with the tyres that are imposed upon them.

        2. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
          5th July 2013, 15:53

          It’s just a common tendency, mate. At the first races of the season, many people had defended Pirelli for doing what the FIA told them to do, bla bla bla.
          But now, many people are fed up and had it enough, tired of these tyres. Moreover with one team accused (and proved) to be cheating, but walked away relatively lightly.
          Pirelli should have known that 2012 was praised, but going more aggressive than that? Bad move. I don’t really think that FIA said, “make things more spicy next year” or so.

  2. While I do believe tyre swapping doesn’t sound like a good idea, what exactly is the difference between the two tyres? Is a tyre that is designed for the right side significantly different than the one designed for the left? If so, what is the difference?

    1. As I understand it, last year’s tyres were symmetrical, so it was possible to swap them left to right and vice versa without any problems. The new 2013 construction isn’t symmetrical, but I don’t think it’s noticeable on the outside.

      1. What Pirelli have said is that the side walls on the outside of the tire are made to withstand the pressure and the insides are weaker – I can’t tell the technical terms used as I don’t remember. So if the insides are outside they explode as the pressure of the high speed corners push the walls too far.

        1. But swapping sides doesn’t put the tire’s inside walls on the outside. The differences are the direction in which the tire rotates, and the difference in loads given the asymettry of the circuits. As the tires are the same for all circuits, clockwise and counter-clockwise, I suspect that the main difference is the direction in which the tire rotates, as @bascb said below.

      2. Its much the same as with some high performance road car tyres. The internals structure (and tread in case of road cars) is made to work when on one side of the car, turning in a certain direction. Those tyres can be dangerous to run the other way round too.

    2. from what i know the structure inside is not symmetrical. somerf1 has a good article about it http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/pirellis-tyre-issues-in-silverstone.html

    3. It has to do with the steel belt, as of now only the front tyres have steel belts. The steel belt inside these tyres were design to rotate in one direction, but teams found out that by changing the rotational direction they could achieve better results meaning that almost every team if not all fitted all 4 steel belted tyres the other way around.

  3. I think this can affect teams like redbull who run insane camber angles performance

  4. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
    5th July 2013, 9:27

    I… …I agree with something the FIA has done…

    …I need to lie down.

    1. @magnificent-geoffrey Breath. Everything will be all right.

    2. Ha ha! I had a similar feeling..

    3. Don’t worry about it. Its perfectly natural for the FIA to be sane and sensible occasionally. Law of averages after all

  5. So this is a first time F1 teams are doing this swapping thing and so on? F1 teams are real amateurs I see. What a crock of bull haha ha haa…

    1. So this is a first time F1 teams are doing this swapping thing and so on?

      No, they have been doing all these things for years.

  6. and magically the problems will disappear… seems like this was going on a lot more than we imagined.

    it makes me very angry that teams like Red Bull have deliberately gone outside the particular specifications of these asymmetric tyres, and then tried to claim that it’s Pirelli’s fault. So, who was putting drivers lives at risk?

    1. Any proof?
      Up till now I’ve only heard Rosberg saying “We like swapping the tyres!

    2. They say that because they have been swapping tyres around in the past too, as well as ran different pressures than the supplier advised many times when they found it made for better performance.
      So while they have not changed their behaviour, suddenly its unsafe to work that way, so it makes perfect sense to be upset about that.

    3. F1 teams are not stupid: I don’t buy this “we’ve always done it, so it’s ok”. Some teams were pushing the envelope well beyond specification, and the teams should accept their part in it.

      What it says to me is that the teams and Pirelli are jointly responsible for the problems. As usual in F1, the debate that started on Friday had fingers pointed largely in one direction: from the teams to the tyre manufacturer.

  7. 16 to 20 Psi is pretty low pressure, I didn’t know that F1 cars run on sow low tire pressure.

    1. During the broadcast if the race at Silverstone, Ted Kravitz mentioned that Pirelli recommend the teams use pressures of 20 psi, but most teams go down to 18 psi because of the benefits lower pressures offer. Kravitz also mentioned (he never named them, but made it pretty clear who he was talking about) that Red Bull go as low as 16 psi, and even suggested that they may go lower still.

    2. For a racing tyre, this is a very normal pressure range.

    3. they do run that kind of pressures regularly. RBR are often said to go a tad lower in that range, some others a bit more. When there was trouble 2 years back in Monza I think the lowest pressures ran were abou 14.8 or something like that.

  8. About time. It’s been clear for some time that the teams are taking the mickey with the tyre parameters and yet try to lay all the blame at Pirelli’s feet.

    No doubt we will hear some whining from some teams this weekend.

  9. Teams have been doing the tyre swapping & going beyond recommended Camber & tyre pressure limits for years, Thats nothing new & from what I’ve been told they have not been taking that any further this year than they have in the past.

    As Anthony Davidson said on sky during fp1, In the past the tyres had a decent safety margin designed in which allowed teams to do these things trouble free.
    For example if the recommended pressures was 19psi on the rear’s, The tyres were designed to be able to withstand 4-5psi below that & still be safe & thats why teams did it.

    This year’s tyres don’t seem to have the same margin’s built into them & that stems from the steel belt design making the tyres more marginal from the start (Steel belt see’s tyres run hotter & retain heat longer).
    Regardless of what the teams were doing, Had Pirelli not changed the way they made the tyres for this year as far as the steel belt & overall tyre construction we would not have seen any of the problems we have seen.

    Its very telling that despite these changes Pirelli are still reverting back to the 2012 construction from Hungary. If there was nothing wrong with the tyres & if it was all down to the way teams were running them then Pirelli would not be making any changes to the tyres.

    1. From what I have seen and heard it is the first year “directional slick tyres” have been used.
      That is different from “asymmetrical tyres” which have different construction on inner and outer surfaces.

      1. True, Something they did because of the steel belt.

        Paul Hembrey-

        The steel belt was angled in one direction which is why, when you invert it, it actually goes into a point rather than being pushed along the top of the belt. That is why it creates a weakness.

        We allowed the teams to invert the tyres when we shouldn’t have done. I don’t want to take away from the fact it was our responsibility.

        Kevlar is not as rigid as steel, and it also operates at lower temperatures, so it gives you greater margin from that point of view.

        In going for the 2012 tyres, there are multiple reasons. Its resistance to standing waves is higher, it’s less radial.

    2. Teams pushing all boundaries, trying anything and everything to gain an edge, always looking for the absolute limit, it looks like it has been discovered for the 2013 Pirelli tires.

  10. Yes, we get it already. It’s anyones but Pirellis fault.

  11. If the tyres are not symmetrical why do teams prefer to swap them? Is there any advantage to be gained from the swap?

    1. As I understand it, The swapping was only something done when using a used set of tyres. For instance the 1st stint of a race for all those who ran during Q3.

      There is no actual performance advantage but it does extend the life of a set of tyres, Especially if one side takes a bigger hammering than the other.
      For example if the left/rear is wearing faster than the Right/Rear on a circuit, By swapping them you get an extra few laps of performance out that set because after the swap the tyre taking the most load has less wear on it.

      Don’t believe it was something been done during the race when it was a new set been put on in the stops as there would be no gain from doing it.

  12. Does anyone else agree that if everyone does a Tyre test, that Mercedes be strictly banned from getting anymore testing time as they’ve already done 1000km without oversight?

    Moreover, does anyone notice the leaps and bounds improvement in performance of Mercedes over Ferrari and Redbull? Arrows use to be the fastest car over one lap beyond a shadow of doubt, after Barcelona they have somehow leaped frog Ferrari due to quantum leap in tire management and all the COOL new technical upgrades are coming at exponential pace matchning/exceeding redbull?

    Constructor Point Gains by Mercedes (99) , Redbull (88), Ferrari (51) since Barcelona.

    Any time there’s in season test Ferrari because they have such large team make progress over the competition by gain 0.5-1.0 seconds closing the gap to the front or exceeding it as they have such vast resources. Mercedes works in the same fashion, Ross Brawn was at Ferrari during the Schumi years when teams could spend whatever they wanted how they wanted with unlimited in season testing.

    The big teams are the ones who profit most, so why isn’t anyone raising the question if they do in season Tyre test that Mercedes be banned as they already got 1000km bump of secret unscrutinized testing?

Comments are closed.