Tyre warmer ban opposed by drivers

2014 F1 season

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F1 drivers oppose the FIA’s plan to ban the use of tyre warmers next year, which may now not go ahead.

The use of tyre warmers is not permitted in most other single-seater racing categories, including IndyCar racing, GP2 and other junior formulae.

However several drivers in today’s press conference spoke out against the plan to ban their use in Formula One. Sergio Perez said it would be “very unsafe to take the blankets away” and added “I don’t think that will really improve much the show”.

Drivers have already tested revised tyre compounds supplied by Pirelli which are intended for use without warmers but expressed concerns over the difficulties of driving with them.

“We all came from junior formulas where you don’t have tyre blankets and we survived perfectly well,” said Max Chilton, “but I think for Formula One we’d drastically have to change the compounds for it to be safe so it’s a good thing we’ve still got them”.

Daniel Ricciardo said the opening moments of races would be especially dangerous on cold tyres: “I think it’s more for safety, especially at the start of the race when there are a lot of cars in close proximity.”

“I don’t think it’s quite necessary right now to do that. I think we can find other measures or other things, better solutions. I think tyre blankets are still a good thing.”

Tyre warmers were introduced to Formula One in the mid-eighties. The FIA previously abandoned an attempt to ban them in 2009.

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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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22 comments on “Tyre warmer ban opposed by drivers”

  1. mattshaw85 (@)
    19th June 2014, 17:35

    Turkeys vote against christmas – shock!

    Surely they’d be kept in tyre ovens until the very last minute like at le mans? I wonder what the actual difference would really be. I certainly don’t thinks it’s ‘unsafe’, surely just means the tyres need to be leaned on straight away to get them up to temp.

    Personally I’m not too bothered either way, but if Indy and le Mans get by without them I’m not sure how F1 would be any different.

    1. @mattshaw85 DTM runs with tire blankets though and I think they probably have an even lower budget than WEC teams and possibly lower than GP2 and indy teams. But I don’t see how this will save costs in banning the warmers. Something else needs to be done.

  2. Liam McShane (@)
    19th June 2014, 17:39

    Can somebody remind me why they are taking these away again?

    1. Cutting costs! Banning tyre blankets would save at least $10,000 per team per season.

      1. Liam McShane (@)
        19th June 2014, 17:57

        Really cutting costs? Don’t you think a crash due to cold tyres would be more expensive?

        1. @motor_mad It would be very much appreciated if you dial down the rational thinking thing you’ve got going on here. This is obviously the best thing the FIA could come up with, so it’s gotta be awesome.

          1. Pure genius :D

        2. yeah, they will have to just crash. Its not as if junior drivers have learnt to warm up their tyres (Oh, hey, but don’t they all do this UNTIL they get to F1 anyway?) and its proven that the speeds F1 run at would make it dangerous to go out on track with cold tyres (Not as if Indycars show its not a safety issue at all, right?).

          Sure, it doesn’t save THAT much money, but its another thing that can be easily dropped and make it more challenging for the drivers.

      2. yeah, they’ll save 10K in tire blankets and spend 50K on tire ovens

    2. Mr win or lose
      19th June 2014, 19:29

      The only reason I can come up with is that it will be harder to overtake someone in the pits in the race (as the “undercut” may not be an advantage anymore). And yes, it may spice up the show a bit, because crashes are more likely, but the cost-cutting part is indeed nonsense (in my humble opinion).

  3. I never understood why F1 wants to drop tyre warmers. Costs? how much can those things cost? not much compared to a nosecone, I suppose. It must be incredibly easy to ship to every circuit in the world too, so that’s not the reason.

    Improving the show? how? with drivers being forced to lose traction at the start of each stint? why not forbid drivers to use the brakes for 3 laps each race? that’d be interesting…

    Leave it alone, man…

  4. “I need my security blanket to feel safe!”

    Sorry, if Indy Car has gotten by fine all these years and race safely, F1 can too. The drivers can suck it up and deal.

    1. Indycar uses 15 inch wheels though, the bigger the diameter the easier it is to warm the tyre up when F1 goes to 18 inches like they want then they wouldn’t need the blankets.

      1. “Indycar uses 15 inch wheels though, the bigger the diameter the easier it is to warm the tyre up when F1 goes to 18 inches like they want then they wouldn’t need the blankets.”

        That should really read “as Michelin wants” – the teams have made it clear that they see no reason for opting for a larger tyre size, with some suggesting whether it might have a detrimental impact on safety (because it would require a complete redesign of the current wheel retention systems that, in the event of a crash, are supposed to stop wheels from being thrown around).

        Michelin are the only party that has been publicly campaigning for larger wheel sizes, and the suspicion is that they are more interested in doing the job cheaply (by reusing the same tooling as they use in sportscar racing). The other bonus is that they would probably hope to promote their larger diameter, low profile tyres – mainly because the profit margins on those tyres are substantially higher than on conventional profile tyres.

      2. I might be wrong, but I would think that its HARDER if you have 15 inch tyres to actually warm them up than having 18 inch ones, as there is a far bigger difference in tyre pressure as well as far more volume on smaller rims (as the complete tyre is about the same size)

  5. Don’t fix something if it isn’t broken.

  6. Unsafe… I never thought this is much of an argument. It’s completely in their own control, so if you crash, it’s your own fault. It’s not like it would take more than a lap to warm them up. I just think it adds more control back into drivers’ hands which can only be good. Some will be better at finding the limit, while others will be too slow or too ambitious.

    They really don’t add anything to the show except making the cars faster in the first lap or two. I think it will only be good if there is some trade off between warming up new tires and preserving the worn ones. At least it won’t be a forgone conclusion that the one who pits first is in better position.

  7. In my opinion the negatives out shine the positives. Leave it as it is, and focus on more crucial area’s for money saving.

  8. The safety argument is utter nonsence.

    The vast majority of other racing categories manage fine without tyre warmers. Back in the day the CART series had 900-1000bhp, a ton of torque & far less downforce than an F1 car yet still managed perfectly fine with no tyre warmers.

    When they tested these compounds without the warmers in testing I don’t recall seeing reports of drivers spinning off everywhere, They all managed perfectly fine.

    These drivers are said to be the best in the world, Yet there are so many elements of driver skill that are been eroded in F1 that im starting to think drivers elsewhere may be better as they deal with driving in the rain, no runoff, no tyre warmers & less downforce perfectly well while F1 drivers whine & complain all the time.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      20th June 2014, 10:11

      No they aren’t said to be the best in the world though are they? They are said to have the best sponsorship packages.

      The safety argument only holds up because of another massive problem in F1. The best drivers in the world should be able to cope but I wouldn’t fancy seeing Maldonado driving around on cold tyres though!

  9. The safety argument is basically invalid, nearly all of the tracks have huge run off areas that would prevent crashes from happening and the tyres basically cool off by the time the cars get out of the pits. Indycar, nascar, former cart, and many other series have done just fine without tyre warmers so F1 should too.

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