Pirelli concerned by plans for banked corner at Zandvoort

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has raised concerns over plans to bank the final corner at Zandvoort ahead of the sport’s return to the track.

The Dutch Grand Prix will return to the schedule for the 2020 F1 season, 35 years since the world championship last visited Zandvoort. Plans to revise the circuit to make it suitable for modern cars include banking the final corner, Arie Luyendijkbocht, by as much as 18 degrees.

Steeply banked corners are rare in Formula 1. An 18-degree banking would be steeper than the 9.2 degree banking at Indianapolis Motors Speedway, where F1 suffered a spate of tyre failures in 2005, which led to just six cars starting the race.

Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola told RaceFans making tyres suitable for use on such a banked corner would be “technically a big challenge” and he would “prefer not to have banking”.

“There is an evaluation at the moment about what it means because obviously there is a much higher stress on the tyres that will oblige us to raise the minimum pressure to resist this high stress on the tyre,” he explained.

Minimum tyre pressures would have to be increased in order to cope with the banking, said Isola. “The problem is that the pressure in that case will be too high for the rest of the circuit.

“So the teams have to find a balance between the banking or the infield part of the circuit that is without banking. It’s not easy.”

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Daytona 24 Hours, 2019
Pirelli will use Daytona’s steep banking as a reference
In order to glean relevant information about racing on a steep banking, Pirelli is studying data from its participation in races on tracks outside Formula 1, including the Daytona International Speedway which is banked at up to 31 degrees in places.

Dromo, who are designing the modifications to Zandvoort, were approached for a comment. The company previously handled the re-profiling of Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit in 2016.

Dutch Grand Prix sporting director and ex-F1 driver Jan Lammers said the reason for banking the final corner was to allow drivers to take it flat-out with DRS open, increasing the potential for overtaking at a track where several drivers have predicted it will be very difficult. The banking would also reduce the amount of run-off needed at the corner.

The banking may not be added until 2021, the second year of F1’s deal to return to the circuit. This would coincide with the sport’s switch to a new 18-inch wheel format.

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32 comments on “Pirelli concerned by plans for banked corner at Zandvoort”

  1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    7th June 2019, 21:18

    Indianapolis 2: Bank Harder!

  2. “A big challenge” well make the tyre then. They should leave is disgrace if they can’t be bothered. It’s F1.

    1. the rules they are given (not created for themselves) say they must use the same construction of tyres at all tracks all season. I believe that Pirelli would make track-specific tyres if they could, but rules out of their direct control say otherwise

  3. Pretty simple. The type of tyre required would contravene the design criteria imposed by f1. Or should i say, formula pirelli.

  4. With pirelli garbage this will be a disaster.

    1. Sigh. Pirelli make the tyres how the fia want them. If you dont like it blame the fia.

      1. The only thing the FIA ever asked in the past is for them to try & ensure 2-3 stops a race, However they haven’t been giving Pirelli that mandate for the past 2-3 years.

        How Pirelli actually make the tyres, The compounds, Construction, Materials & general characteristic of the tyre is totally down to Pirelli. The FIA have no say in any of that, Never have.

  5. Maybe we ought to reopen the tender for a tyre supplier. You know, select one who can.

    1. Any other tyre supplier will do ;)

      or lets just flatten it and turn it into a car park like the rest of the tracks…

    2. No one can do any better than Pirelli. The problem is the rules stating exactly how the tyre must be made. If the rulemakers simply said what they want the tyres to be like, and left the rest up to Pirelli, we wouldn’t see any of the current issues.

      Just look at the changes since last season. Pirelli, along with everyone else who knew anything about tyres, said the needed improvement was to make the rubber thicker. F1 chose to make the tread thinner instead, and unsurprisingly the problem got worse instead of better.

      1. What?!
        No one even mentioned that tyres should be thicker, it would have been a disaster.
        Where did you get that from?!

        Thinner tyres was and is the best way.

      2. The tender asked for tyre deg. It’s Pirelli who made the decision to implement it via thermal deg instead of physical degradation. And that in turn results in these temperature-sensitive tyres. So yeah, I hold Pirelli responsible in the most part.

      3. If the rulemakers simply said what they want the tyres to be like, and left the rest up to Pirelli, we wouldn’t see any of the current issues.

        But that’s exactly how it is now & how it’s always been.

        The FIA have zero say in how Pirelli actually make the tyres, Never have. The compounds, Construction, Materials, Tread depth & general characteristic of the tyres is totally down to Pirelli.

        The thinner tread this year is something Pirelli decided to do on there own based on what they saw with the blistering issues through last season.

        The only input the FIA have is mandating the size of the tyres. They did in the past request that they try & make tyres to force 2-3 stops a race but were never telling Pirelli how to produce those tyres & haven’t even been making that request the past 2-3 years.

  6. Back in the day, F1 pilots didn’t care about banked corners, having REAL tires and setup – look at REAL fighters – Mansell – F1 champion and Indy car champion in 12 months. It’s a real shame that Pirelli can’t give us the tires we need in F1 (they can they say – so why not PROVE it) Shame on them for falling for the money, while Bridgestone would have no problems. We alle remember that! – the 2005 ‘drama’ at Indy. Get Bridgestone back in ASAP and let them race once again. They don’t have to ‘test’ their tires endlessly, Pirelli is was and is a shame to F1.

    1. It’s a real shame that Pirelli can’t give us the tires we need in F1 (they can they say – so why not PROVE it)

      Because the rulemakers won’t let them. Simple as that.

      1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
        8th June 2019, 12:14

        Rulemakers have so much power that teams are now finishing races in almost predetermined order. Reliability is near perfected nowadays, so we see fewer “surprise” results.

        3-4 different tyre suppliers would be good…

  7. I thought banking was a no no for tracks wanting to host F1 (since 2005 at least), but have always wished it were more prevalent in F1, especially if graduated so as to open up the racing line through mid to high speed bends. Specifically a flat apex with outer banking so the banking allows higher speeds to compensate for the longer distance around the outside, it would also help if the tyres did not throw off so much crud.

  8. I can’t figure out what recent races at Daytona Pirelli would have data from. The only two IMSA sanctioned series that use Pirelli tires are the single make Lamborghini and Ferrari series, and neither of them raced at DIS this year. The main IMSA series uses Michelin tires and was a mix of Michelin and Continental until recently.

    1. I would assume from their comments that they can put together older data from steeply banked circuits and more recent data from other circuits, if they indeed don’t have recent Daytona data.

  9. petebaldwin (@)
    8th June 2019, 10:44

    I know it’s fun to pick on Pirelli but they’re being honest here. They said it’s “technically a big challenge” and we all know that’s beyond them.

    Banking wasn’t an issue for one of the tyre manufacturers over a decade ago but you have to be realistic and accept we have a much smaller, technically inferior company looking after the tyres now.

    1. Banking wasn’t an issue for one of the tyre manufacturers over a decade ago

      You obviously missed the eventual revelation of the full story there. Michelin produced tyres based on the track surface in place at the time the rules were made. Bridgestone got the track surface changed at a time which let them do extensive race testing on the new surface, whilst Michelin were unable to do any testing on it at all; Bridgestone refused to share even the basic data, so Michelin were totally in the dark – they weren’t even notified of the changes to the track.

  10. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    8th June 2019, 11:28

    I think Pirelli is getting a lot of undeserved stick for these comments. There’s a lot of mitigating factors here.
    1. 18 degree banking is a LOT. I was picturing high camber/slightly banked, like in the region of 3-5 degrees. The banking is similar to very few tracks: Michigan, Homestead-Miami, Chicagoland, Kansas, Kentucky, and Las Vegas, all of which only currently hold NASCAR racing.
    2. As mentioned by some others, Pirelli can build more durable tyres. They are a good company, but theyve been pushed by F1 and the FIA to make less durable tyres, to encourage 2-stops, which hasnt worked. The reason Bridgestone and Michelin have a bunch of times been rumoured to come back but then decided against it was because they didnt want to make designed-to-degrade tyres.
    3. With current testing restrictions, it’s going to be very difficult for Pirelli to get much data on how the cars/tyres behave on the banking before the race.
    4. They havent said they cant do it, just that it will be a challenge.

    1. Where did you get the 18 degree number? I also thought it was going to be 3-5 at max, 18 is a lot. Indy for example is just 9.2 degrees. Chicagoland oval in usa has 18 degrees of baking and it looks like this:

      1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
        8th June 2019, 21:08

        @socksolid from this article

    2. Pirelli can build more durable tyres. They are a good company, but theyve been pushed by F1 and the FIA to make less durable tyres, to encourage 2-stops

      The FIA haven’t been asking Pirelli to make less durable tyres for the past 2-3 years. The mandate has actually been for more durable tyres that allow drivers to push harder for longer.

        1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          30th June 2019, 19:29

          @gt-racer Sorry for not replying sooner, but the aim stated is still to create two-stop races, which means designed degradation. Am not sure though whether this idea comes from the FIA or Pirelli themselves, but i think we can all agree that with the current cars tyres that can do the whole race would be terrible.

  11. Robert McKay
    8th June 2019, 11:28

    I suppose they could put a chicane in the middle of the banking…

    Didn’t Silverstone once (must be a few years ago now) talk about putting a banked corner in?

    1. The BRDC at one point around I think 2003 were thinking about making Club a faster/banked corner to try & improve overtaking into Abbey.

  12. The last corner at Zandvoort is one of the best on the track though, it’s right on the edge with most cars, with no runoff. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised they’re getting rid of it so F1 cars can take it easily flat and use DRS…

    I wish this idea to convert Zandvoort had never been mooted. It’s a good track for lower formulas, they’re going to ruin it so it can be a poor F1 track for a few seasons then drop it.

  13. Another point against pointless Zandvoort.

    Hope they scrap it, before long.

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