F1 targets sustainability gains by bringing fewer tyres to races

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 is considering a reduction in the number of tyres teams may use at some races next season.

If the change goes ahead, it would be made on a trial basis, as is being done with F1’s sprint qualifying format at three races this year.

F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn said the series is looking at using limited trials to evaluate ideas that “we’d be a little bit nervous about doing for the whole season”.

One proposal involves reducing the number of tyres teams can use during a race weekend. Ordinarily teams are issued 13 sets of slicks, four sets of intermediates and three sets of full wets per weekend. That totals 36,800 tyres for race weekends alone next year. Extra tyres can also be supplied for testing purposes or in response to wet weather.

Brawn said the sport would like to “see if we can reduce the quantity of tyres we use over a race weekend”.

“We’re all trying to improve our footprint in many ways,” he explained. “Logistics, usage of tyres is one of them.

“So we hope in ’22 we’re going to have some weekends where we have a reduced number of tyres available. We think we can do that without impacting the show.”

Before proceeding with the test, F1 and the FIA are considering what “unintended consequences” might arise from the change, said Brawn.

“Tim Goss at the FIA in particular has been working very hard with Pirelli and the teams to come up with a proposal of how we might assess a different way of using the tyres over the weekend to reduce quantities. And that looks quite promising and I think that’s something we will do at a few weekends during the season in order to evaluate it.

“If it works then it’s something that we can adopt for the future or we can tune it a little bit and move forward.”

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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...
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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23 comments on “F1 targets sustainability gains by bringing fewer tyres to races”

  1. Well, it does seem that there is still quite a big amount of unused tyres at many races, so it makes sense to see if they can reduce that. Let’s see how it goes.

  2. RandomMallard (@)
    3rd November 2021, 8:59

    Additionally, if what Pirelli are saying is true, one would hope that the tyres next season could survive more that one heat-cool cycle, so reusing tyres, maybe ones used in practice instead of returning them, may become much more possible.

    I know that tyre return rule for FP1 and FP2 is to encourage the teams to go out in practice, but it does seem like a lot of tyre sets are still go wasted as a result

  3. Good move, something that should’ve got done a while ago already.

  4. It is well documented that as soon as the tyre is mounted on the rim, no matter it was ever put on a car or not, it will be burned and never used again. So all those intermediate and wet tyres are almost always never used, brand spanking new tyres and they are burned down. Pirelli have a long long way to make themselves greener.

    1. It would seem to me they should start by trying to reuse some of the unused tyres (especially the inters and wets) of those at a close by races. E.g. the US to Mexico GPs would be perfect to have trucked over the unused tyres and wheels, as well as a few european events (like Monaco and France).

  5. Feels like they could just not bother with the wets or bring fewer of them, if its so wet they really need them then they tend to stop racing anyway much of the time and at the first possible opportunity they want to be on the inters if they can.

    Would also be interesting to know how many tyres that go unused at a given weekend can be put back into “the system” and brought to another race?

  6. Hmm all sorts of things could come from this, even up to the point of tyres having to be used for more than 1 race weekend. Wouldn’t that spice up the show.

    It sounds like a positive step to reduce waste, but as with everything, the devil will be in the detail.

  7. Compared to the number of tyres sold and used by people buyng cars that F1 promotes, this is nothing. Just cosmetics and PR. The same with fuel. One 747 flying accross the atlantic uses more fuel than in all the F1 cars in all the races of the season. Even before the hybrid era. F1 is reducing an already minuscule fraction of the problem while at the same time trying to maximize car and tyre sales for Pirelli and the car manufacturers.

    It makes sense in our Orwellian world that F1 would be putting up a sustainable front. Same with Heineken promoting “dont drink and drive”. Its almost impossible to parody this. I miss the honesty of the Bernie era even if i dont agree with a lot of what he did or said.

    1. What you’re saying about the numbers is indisputable. But this would be setting an example for others to follow, to encourage thinking about reducing waste more widely. And every little helps.

    2. @vjanik This is exactly it, so this is yet another virtue signaling, or designed to ‘spice up the show’ for profit.

      It’s likely going to have unintended consequences. Probably spread the field more.

  8. 2022 would not be the best year to experiment with tyre allocation. There is already bunch of new changes with new cars and bigger tyres. Why disrupt?

  9. Speaking of sustainability, perhaps we could stop designing them to fall apart on purpose?

  10. Treat tyres like engine parts. Assign a limited number of each compound per team to use for the entire season how they choose. Could make for some…explosive…final races! Of course Pirelli’s brief would be to make ultra durable tyres!

  11. I’m a little confused. Doesn’t Pirelli recycle the tyres anyway?!

    There are definitely tracks where the teams don’t need 13 sets of dry-weather tyres per driver, like Monaco (1 set per practice session is definitely enough there) or Baku. They also don’t need to bring full wets or inters to Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

    If they were to reduce the overall allocation at every GP, the tyres would have to be more consistent. Reducing the allocation, while the tyre only offers peak grip for 1.5 flying laps, doesn’t make much sense.
    They used to have fewer sets of dry-wetather tyres in the past, i.e. 7 sets in 2006. But that was obviously during the tyre-war era, when Bridgestone and Michelin were pushing for maximum performance and consistency. Nothing like the “show-tyres” we have today.

    1. They do, but only if the tyres haven’t already been mounted onto a wheel rim.

      1. Presumably they don’t mount the tyres until needed… At least I hope that’s the case!

      1. @armchairexpert
        Oh no! How did Pirelli dare to ship no wet-weather tyres to Bahrain after none of the teams ordered any of them?!
        And why haven’t they developed a snow tyre yet, after snow was falling once in 50 years at Barcelona?! That’s grossly negligent!!!

        Seriously, you don’t expect rain showers in the desert or snow at the mediterranean. In the case of the Bahrain test, it was more the teams’ fault than Pirelli’s.
        I still think Pirelli doesn’t need to ship wets and inters to every round beforehand. Maybe just take the unused tyres straight to the next round, once they know there isn’t gonna be any rain that weekend.

  12. It’s simple, just hold only sprint races and plaster crypto.com on all of the tire sidewalls. Problem solved, planet saved.

  13. On a trial basis you say? Well I look forward to them rolling out the reduced tyre format to double the amount of races the following season after it backfires somehow and they receive overwhelmingly negative feedback from the fans.

  14. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    4th November 2021, 3:48

    You could also bring fewer tires by not having sprint qualifying races :)

  15. Wait .. WEC is becoming F1, and F1 is becoming WEC :p

  16. Sustainability is the wrong word. They probably want to reduce their carbon footprint. Whatever – we all understand.

    The best way to reduce F1 carbon footprint is to first not increase it by increasing the number of GPs. 20 is plenty and 16 to 18 ideal in my book. 23 is stupid at so many levels.

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