Pirelli, Hockenheimring, 2018

Pirelli wants to introduce ‘smart tyres’ to F1

2018 F1 season

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Pirelli wants to introduce its smart tyre technology, which provides real-time data on tyre performance, to Formula 1.

The company already markets its Connesso smart tyre for road vehicles. However Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola told RaceFans the technology adapting it for use in motorsport could take time.

“We know that smart tyres are the future. A tyre that is talking to the car is something that we’ve studied for many years. So we are developing sensors and so on.

“But the usage of it inside a motorsport tyre, especially in a Formula 1 tyre where you have forces, accelerations, energy and temperature that are much higher than on a road car, it is something that we need to analyse before introducing.”

A smart tyre could be used to transmit information on tyre wear, grip, temperature, pressure and more in real-time to teams and fans. It would also be relevant to Pirelli’s road car products, said Isola.

“All the data we collect in Formula One, considering the level of detail that you have in Formula One, is more than relevant for road cars.

“We talk about air pressure, temperature is something they already measure, level of grip, this kind of stuff. This is something that if we are able to collect this data in Formula One, considering the level of detail here, for sure this is something that is really useful for road cars.”

One potential risk of introducing smart tyres would be the possibility of revealing sensitive information about the teams’ cars.

“We need to pay attention on the commercial side, not to disclose any confidential information,” Isola admitted. “But we can have useful information also to entertain spectators.”

“I believe that the main target is technical. It is to have something that is good for safety, because when you introduce this kind of sensor in a road car it is mainly for safety, to have warning if the tyre is too worn or you are running at too high speed or the level of grip of the road is different.

“So all this is information that is useful in a road car. And if you can collect on a motorsport tyre it is even more interesting.”

What will F1’s planned switch to 18-inch tyres in 2021 mean for the sport? Read Dieter Rencken’s exclusive interview with Mario Isola later today on RaceFans

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2018 F1 season

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35 comments on “Pirelli wants to introduce ‘smart tyres’ to F1”

  1. Not a bad idea.

  2. They cannot even build proper racing tires or a decent wet tire and they are talking about smart tires…
    This comapany is really funny.

    1. They have to build 6 different compounds for an organization that wants these compounds to artificially degrade while still being safe and grippy. I have nothing for or against Pirelli, but the requirements are a joke, no wonder there’s no competition.

      1. Wet tyres aren’t supposed to degrade quickly at all. It’s just meant to hold and provide necessary grip. Pirelli failed to deliver on this since they entered and are a joke compared to Bridgestone..

        1. Nothing wrong with their wet tyres.

          1. Then why do all teams and drivers complain about them?
            The extreme wet moves a bit more water than the intermediate of Bridgestone and yet degradation is worse.

      2. Everyone keeps coming back with those requirements. Is there any proof that they really asked this to Pirelli?
        What about tires falling apart? That was also part of the spec? The microcut issues? The tirewall issues? Let alone performance?

    2. Who knows maybe having smart tyres would greatly help them making the tyres safe. Or at least spot a potentially fatal issue before it happens @niedle.

      Potentially it would also open up the path for teams to experiment MORE with what they do with tyres to extract the most performance since monitoring the state of the tyre online would allow Pirelli to prevent it going wrong on track.

  3. Bluetooth-connected tires?

    Could eliminate bad tire swaps at pitstops. Each tire could send a ‘I feel snug’ message and :-) emoticon to each wheel gun operator’s smartphone. And then…in less time than it took to type this silly idea the pitstop would be over. ;-)

    1. “Lewis, your left front is complaining again, it says you’re making it do all the work and torturing it”.

      1. :-) now tyres are developing a personality with AI too @hohum

  4. F1 already does a lot of this. The tires have all kinds of wear and heat and pressure sensors on them already and each tire carries some kind of chip to identify its exact numbers. This sounds more like a marketing push than any kind of advancement in tire tech. They already have this. They just want to call it smart.

    1. @socksolid,
      You can’t blame Pirelli for trying to eke out every bit of positive coverage from its involvement with F1. I’m still trying to figure out what upside they have in terms of brand value with their association with this sport.

      1. This sounds like another example of ‘a solution looking for a problem’.

    2. Do we know where those sensors are? The pressure sensor is definitely in the rim (as in many road cars), but I’d say wear and temperature sensors are laser/infrared and placed outside the tyres.

      1. @warheart I believe a lot of the teams have the sensors looking at tyre temperature in the mirrors.

        I’ve seen that put forward as the reason we don’t have the Mirror-Cam’s on TV anymore, No room in there for the TV camera & the teams own sensors.

        Mercedes have one on the front wings, It’s the oblong thing on the top element close to the end-plate thats aimed at the tyre.

  5. Will the tyres have Siri or its own voice assistant?

    “Ok Pirelli, degrade slower.”

  6. This is really cool, the data would help with correlating simulations. If they can get more data about what’s actually happening with the tyre on the track and pump that data back into their simulation it will give them more opportunity to experiment with different compound designs without actually needing to run them on track.

    Less guess work about what’s actually happening to the tyre on the track will mean better tyre development and racing for everyone. Hopefully they can do it and not just talk about it…

    1. What’s wrong with “guess work”? Don’t agree with you at all, we don’t need more data, we need much, much less of it.

      1. TeselOfSkylimits
        8th August 2018, 19:36

        In digital 21st century, you want the peak of motorsport racing to be bunch of eyeballing and guesswork.

        How about we also merge F1 with classic car racing. Not like difference will be visible.

        1. Correct. People don’t give a damn about your digital 21st century, they want to see driver skill. It’s only a small minority of people that actually care about the technology and believe that F1 has this “responsibility” to be at the forefront of technology. Technology should only serve to make the cars go faster, thereby requiring more human skill to drive. That’s it.

  7. I have to say, this sounds like the sort of direction we need to be moving away from, if anything.

    Isn’t Liberty trying to create more unpredictable races? More pit stops? Higher deg tyres? This is surely giving the engineer even more power to dictate race pace for their driver.

    I really don’t like this direction.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      8th August 2018, 15:20


  8. New unpredictability from Pirelli:
    Self destruction in 5…4…2… 1…Boom!

    Tyres aren’t really tree friendly according to Pirelli.

  9. … just build a 4 king tyre, that’s all you have to do.

    Having so much data sterilises it, completely sucks the excitement out of it. Removes the driver element completely. Tyre management already ruins it but I’d rather the driver manage things than a computer.

    I like how @nickwyatt put it: This sounds like another example of ‘a solution looking for a problem’.

  10. Actually, we already have a sensor for things like “forces, accelerations, energy and temperature”: it’s called the DRIVER.

    Useless marketing gimmick. Motorsport got along just fine for 100 years without tyre sensors.

  11. i’m curious what type of sensitive car information could be revealed by increasing the number of tyre sensors.

    1. @emu55 Same here. I can’t really figure it out either.

  12. Good marketing but from a sporting point of view i rather avoid it. I wish they knew less about what the car is doing in real time, specially with the tyres that are the most performance sensitive thing on the car.

    I wish they used the thermal cameras again though! That was cool… I guess they stopped because the teams didn’t want others to see it…

    1. Just look at it from the other side though @fer-no65.

      If Pirelli gets online feedback from the tyres’ state (telling it of potentially critical developments) it can loosen up the tight restrictions on pressure, on cambers and whatnot teams would like to try to extract more performance. And I would hope that having more online date would help Pirelli making better tyres to allow for teams doing so too.

      But I do share your hesistation about everyone knowing too much, simulating it to death up front and giving the driver the job of exactly executing the job of managing the tyres to last while not being too slow or fast while managed from the pitlane.

  13. Yes! More technology, more cost, more engineers at the track, more engineers at the factory, more decisions taken out of the drivers hands, that will make racing better. Brilliant idea!

  14. Can’t wait until I can stream Netflix on them!

  15. Less computer, more car. Please.

  16. Peter Scandlyn
    8th August 2018, 19:58

    Good comedy there Dieter.
    ‘Smart’ and ‘Pirelli’ caught in the same sentence….

Comments are closed.