Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is concerned the FIA’s plans to further reduce maximum tyre blanket temperatures in Formula 1 next year could compromise safety.
For 2023, another decrease will be written into the regulations, reducing the blankets to 50C. Safety concerns over F1 cars running on cooler tyres has stopped previous attempts to outlaw blankets entirely, but F1 is aiming to do this by 2024.
However Perez says it has been more difficult to generate heat in tyres since the temperature limits were lowered this year.
“I think for me, the only concern is the warm-up,” said Perez when asked about the difficulty of getting Pirelli’s 2022 tyres into the right operating window for on-the-limit qualifying laps.
He is concerned by the prospect of a further reduction in tyre temperatures next year. “Sometimes when you are behind the Safety Car with these low blanket temperatures that we’re running [it’s more difficult]. I think already for next year, they’re trying to go even lower, which I feel like they’re putting the driver at risk because there are some situations, some scenarios where it can become quite dangerous.
“[With] cold track temperatures and safety cars and so on, it can be a bit of a risk for some drivers. So I think that’s the only real concern I have with these tyres at the moment.”
Pirelli has begun track testing with teams to develop its 2023 tyres. It is yet to start that kind of development work for the rubber it will supply for 2024, which will have to work in a larger range of temperatures due to the lack of heated tyre blankets.
The change in blanket temperature limits this year, which brought the front and rear tyres in line with each other, and the new 18-inch construction Pirelli built to suit the different downforce levels of the 2022 F1 cars, has contributed to a change in tyre behaviour in the warm-up phase and in qualifying.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly explained that “last year there was a lot more focus in terms of procedure and a lot more of varieties of out-laps through the season compared to this year.” Having hotter front tyres in 2021 made lock-ups more frequent.
Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll commented that in 2022, with a lower working range, “the front tyre seems a lot weaker, it behaves quite differently and just takes some getting used to.”
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