“In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tyres, among other parameters to do with correct tyre usage,” they announced after Vettel blasted them over the blow-out. “This request was not accepted.”
Pirelli wanted a rule which would limit drivers to doing no more than 50% of race distance on the harder prime tyre (the medium compound at Spa) and no more than 30% of race distance on the soft option tyre (the soft tyre at Spa).
Amid uncertainty over whether the tyre failures seen at Spa will recur at Monza next weekend, should F1 adopt this rule? And if so, should it be a long-term change or just a one-off as a precaution?
There is a clear safety need to impose the rule, as Vettel’s tyre failed without warning at one of the quickest parts of the circuit. It could have caused a very serious crash not only involving Vettel, but also Romain Grosjean, who was following closely at the time.
Every component on an F1 car – be it a wing, a suspension component, a suspension component or something else – has a wear life set by its team at which point it is replaced.
None of these is subjected to an upper limit on use for safety reasons, even though a wing, suspension or brake failure could all cause serious accidents. So why should tyres be any different?
Clearly, sudden tyre failures of this type should not happen. But they have happened, and as F1 will use the same tyre compounds this weekend at Monza, this potentially presents a problem. Speeds are even higher at Monza, not just on its long straights but also in the very fast Curva Grande and Parabolica corners. The high-speed nature of the track also gives strategists a strong incentive to keep pit stops to a minimum – a single stop has been the way to go at this track in recent races.
As a one-off measure on safety grounds, then, it’s hard to make a case against imposing a limit on tyre stint length this weekend. The principle that it’s up to the drivers and teams to understand how well their tyres will perform is trumped by the pragmatic need to ensure driver safety when, as seems to be the case, the tyres are not lasting as long as they should.
Should drivers be limited to a maximum number of laps per tyre set? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
Should drivers be limited to a maximum number of laps per tyre set?
- Yes - at all races (7%)
- Yes - at the next race only as a one-off (10%)
- No (80%)
- No opinion (3%)
Total Voters: 320
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