F1 tyre warmer ban won’t be safety risk, say engineers

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 can solve the safety challenges posed by banning tyre warms in 2021 according to engineers from two of the top teams.

As RaceFans revealed today, F1 plans to introduce a new tyre specification in 2021 which will include a ban on tyre warmers, a move to 18-inch wheel sizes and other changes.

F1 has been unsuccessful in previous attempts to ban tyre warmers, which are not allowed in other high-level championships such as IndyCar. The safety challenges posed by the need to warm the tyres up quickly after pit stops has been one of the biggest challenges.

However Renault’s chief technical officer Bob Bell believes those challenges can be solved.

“I’m sure that a set of tyre requirements from the supplier can be agreed upon that will deliver tyres that will be capable of being operated safely, without blankets,” he said in today’s FIA press conference. “Plenty of other racing series do it so I don’t see any reason why we can’t in Formula One.”

Red Bull technical director Pierre Wache pointed out the operating range of F1’s tyres will make it hard for the manufacturer to supply a suitable product which can be used without blankets.

“On the technical side for the manufacturer it will be quite difficult,” he said. “Even more when you see the evolution of pressure you have without blankets, starting at 13 degrees, finishing at more than 100 degrees.

“With the energy we are putting in the tyre in Formula One is higher than other categories, then for sure it will be a big challenge for the tyre manufacturer.

“As an engineer, when it’s challenging, it’s quite interesting. I’m pretty sure we can find tricks and some possibilities on the car to use and to operate the tyre in the best way but it will be a big challenge for the manufacturer.”

Bell added that moving away from tyre blankets may also allow F1 to get rid of some of the other restrictions on how teams can use their tyres.

“If those specifications for the tyre allow us to get around some of the limitations that we face in operating the tyres at the minute, pressures, cambers, all those things, and make that task less onerous on the teams and produce more consistent performance throughout the life of the tyres, then I think that’s all to the good, and I’m sure that is possible to do.

“But it takes time to be sure what those requirements should be and to give the tyre manufacturer, whoever it is, time to develop the tyres. That’s not the work of five minutes.”

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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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9 comments on “F1 tyre warmer ban won’t be safety risk, say engineers”

  1. Wondering if this will have an impact on strategy. I would imagine the undercut would be harder to achieve, or at least will give the driver ahead a bit more time to respond, since the one that pits first will most likely lose time on the first lap out of the pits while the tyres aren’t up to their ideal temperature.

    Also if someone gets just in front of a chasing driver just for a tiny margin there will be overtaking opportunities during that first lap.

    Another thing mentioned in the press-conference is that most likely the tyres would be engineered to work on a wider temperature window, which would take some of the complains away

  2. I think we need to analyze how this might affect racing. How does this affect pitstops and strategies for example? Essentially if the new tires are less grippier this reduces the chance of undercuts because coming out from the pits you are now much slower. If the other guy pits a lap later he will always come out ahead because the first laps out of pits are slow. At the same time it might create a chance for the person who pitted first to try to overtake as his tires are at optimal temperature while the person who pitted later needs to bring them up to temperature. But he needs to the catch the other person first.

    It might also make multiple stop races happen much less often because you lose more times in pits because it takes longer to get the tire temperatures back up. I don’t think it would be good if this would mean all races become 1 stop races.

  3. Can we be clear about what it is that banned? Is it only tyre warming blankets, or any attempt to make tyres warmer before use?

    I mean if a team using some aided device (other than blankets) to keep tyre on certain temperature, would that allowed?

    1. With the stupid rule writers Yes that will be allowed.

    2. haha..perhaps they’d do what Gordon Murray did at Brabham…chuck the tyre’s into an oven prior to the race!

      1. I was thinking something simple like hair dryer… :D

  4. What’s the reason for banning tyre warmers? Honest question, it’s definitely not a cost issue – it’s probably one of the cheapest components used in F1

  5. Sometimes it seems that F1 wanted to create a zebra, ended up getting an elephant and painting it in stripes but is still unable to understand why the elephant can’t run like a zebra – and why people who also would like to see a zebra is unsatisfied with the huge amount of paint wasted.

  6. At the moment, a lot of a F1 car’s suspension is in the tyre. The volume of a tyre is large so it’s really very pressure (and thus temperature) sensitive. Moving to bigger rims means shallower tyres without the volume and the big side-walls. The “suspension” elements will be part of the car, decoupling temperature from ride quality to some extent. This should make it simpler to design tyres with a broader working temperature range.
    The current obsession with tyre performance may be on its way out – we may be entering a new realm where other factors become far more crucial, which will be a relief for those of use fed up with track temperature dominating the performance outcomes of the top teams.

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