Pirelli: removing blankets bigger change than tyre size

2019 F1 Season

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Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola has said that planned removal of tyre blankets from F1 in 2021 will have a bigger impact than any tyre size change, with only limited learning possible from F2.

Speaking in Canada, Isola confirmed that Pirelli were working to a plan to remove tyre blankets from the sport in 2021. The tyre manufacturer, who have secured the contract for F1 until 2023, say that removing the blankets be a much bigger challenge to them than the change to 18″ rims.

“The plan now is to remove blankets in 2021

“We’re working with this in mind. Obviously, as I said many times, it is a big technical challenge – probably bigger than the change in size. But the plan at the moment is for no blankets, unless there is some last minute change.”

Tyre blankets are used to get slick tyres up to their optimum operating temperature from the moment cars go out on track, rather than drivers having to work heat into the rubber. Pre-heating racing tyres is not unique to F1 and the use of blankets, to keep them perfectly warm until the very last second during a pit stop, had had been considered a safety priority until last year.

Isola confirmed that development on the 2021 compounds had already started, with a view to create tyres suitable for use without pre-heating.

“We are developing compounds and we already started to develop compounds with that in mind, that we have to use them without blankets.”

Formula 2, the junior series intended to most closely feed into F1 and whose tyres are also supplied by Pirelli, already does not use tyre blankets.

    Tyre testing for F2’s latest 18″ compounds, which are introduced to the feeder series, started in Jerez today. However, Isola said that limited learning would be possible from the junior series’ tyres, despite similarities, owing to the significant difference in energy stored in the tyre between F1 and F2.

    “Formula 2 tyres are the same width as the current F2 and we increased the diameter as well but not 720, it will be 705, so it is in line with Formula One – it is a different size, a different car but the modification is in line.

    “I’m sure we can collect useful data from Formula Two, don’t forget though that the Formula 2 car is, in terms of stress on the tyre and load energy, a lot less than Formula One.”

    Isola confirmed that minimum tyre pressures (which are measured at high and low temperatures) as well as maximum tyre temperatures and camber were planned to remain enforced by F1 regulations.

    “The plan is to keep the same system, to enforce no more than blanket temperature because we don’t have blankets, so for sure a minimum starting pressure and a maximum camber.”

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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16 comments on “Pirelli: removing blankets bigger change than tyre size”

  1. Sounds good to me. Slippin and a sliding is always good.

  2. Isn’t this going to penalize making a pit stop even more ?

    1. Lower profile tyres should be relatively easier to heat compared to current ones.

  3. All of the teams already have spent a small fortune on tire warming equipment. Why outlaw it?
    And, don’t tell me that Indy racing is ahead of F1. They can’t even find a manufacturer that delivers a decent car for them to race. This year it looks better than the previous monstrosity, but I know kids in grade school that can draw a more interesting car than Dallara does. Explanation? Obviously someone is on the take. I’ll bet Robin Miller could come up with something in that regard.

    1. F1 always has had tyre warmers as cold tyres was used as an explanation of the Alex Zanardi accident in Germany. Now the tyre warmers are being used in the same bracket of cost savings, but since they are just a heating blanket i cant see how teams are using this as an area of technology they are advancing and spending huge sums of money on it.

      1. It was once calculated that the energy used to the tires for 1 race was more than the average YEARLY energy use per household in the usa.

        1. I find that hard to believe. The average energy used by a single household is 10 megawatt/hours per year. That’s enough to warm up more than SIXTY sets of tires for all 20 cars for a whole hour, and that’s considering each tire blanket goes up to 2kW, which is pretty wild, if that’s the case.

          1. Since general bike tyre warmers can consume up to 800-900W per tyre, a 1kW figure for each F1 tyre warmer can be considered conservatively. Let us assume that 4 sets of dry tyres, 2 sets of intermediate and 1 set of wet tyre are kept in warmers for each practice session and 7 set of dry tyres, 2/1 set of intermediate/wet tyres for the quali session. Let us add at least an hour more to each session time to account for pre-session preparation.

            So pre-race usage turns up to be 276 kWh per car and a total of around 5520 kWh for the gird.

            For Sunday, let us consider that an average of 4 dry sets along with 2/1 intermediate/wet sets are being constantly warmed for about 3 hours.

            Race day usage will be 84 kWh per car and a total of around 1680 kWh for the grid.

            So quite conservatively, we are talking about energy usage of 7.2 megawatt-hour over a race weekend which is a substantial part of the annual per capita energy usage in US of A.

      2. F1 has always had tyre warmers ?
        perhaps I have had my eyes shut !

    2. All of the teams already have spent a small fortune on tire warming equipment. Why outlaw it?

      Because it’s yet another factor of racing taken care of by the pits rather than a driver finding the balance in grip on an outlap which is probably the very first lesson you need to master in karts. How people can defend keeping this and power steering around is a joke. Millennials gone mad.

    3. Isn’t the Indy car unchanged since 2012 except the aero kit? which will be exposed to regulation changes

  4. It was once calculated that the energy used to heat the tires for 1 race was more than the average YEARLY energy use per household in the usa

  5. In a sport that is already so hard to pass and shows no signs of improving significantly, why would you make a change that removes a key strategic element of the undercut? You will not be able to pit a lap early and pump in a fast lap or 2 anymore as the tyres won’t be up to it.

  6. Neil (@neilosjames)
    19th June 2019, 18:31

    I really hope someone turns up to the first race of 2021 with a mobile sauna and has a team of mechanics tasked with keeping the tyres nice and warm all weekend.

    1. Heh, that was my first thought. Cue the teams shipping around portable ovens to store the tyres in.

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