“Dangerous, pointless” ban on tyre warmers will cause a crash – Hamilton

2023 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has strongly criticised Formula 1’s plan to ban the use of tyre warmers next season.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is due to introduce new wet weather tyres which do not require blankets at the sixth race this season. A proposal to ban teams from using blankets with all types of tyre will be put to a vote of teams later this year.

Some drivers have already tested Pirelli’s development tyres for next year which are designed to work without blankets. Hamilton was among them, but he is dead set against a ban on blankets, and said a crash is inevitable if it goes ahead.

“I think it’s dangerous,” he told media including RaceFans at the Bahrain Internationtal Circuit today. “I’ve tested the ‘no-blankets’ and yeah, there’s going to be an incident at some stage. So in a safety factor, I think it’s the wrong decision.”

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While Hamilton has been a strong advocate of reducing F1’s carbon footprint, he rejected the argument for banning tyre warmers on environmental grounds to reduce energy use.

“You have to drive multiple laps to get the tyres to work,” he said. “The whole argument that taking away the blankets is going more sustainable, a bit more green, in actual fact we just use more fuel to get to temperature, the tyres.”

However he stressed his biggest concern over a ban on tyre warms is the potential safety implications.

“The more concern, even just when you go out in the cars, you’re skating around, it’s very twitchy. If someone else who is on tyres that are working, you could easily collide with them. It’s a pointless exercise.”

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Another driver who has tested the prototype tyres, Charles Leclerc, believes the full wet weather tyres are up to the task but the slicks aren’t ready yet.

“I did a test and probably they [full wets] are a good tyre without the blankets. The others, I didn’t test all of them. Obviously the intermediates were a bit more difficult so for now I don’t think we are exactly ready.

“For the slicks, too, I think there’s still a little bit of work, especially on the warm-up part of it in the first few laps, it’s still quite tricky. But I think the extreme are quite a good tyre without them actually.”

Max Verstappen, who hasn’t tested the new tyres yet, said it could be a problem if they are used for the first time on a race day.

“I have no clue what to expect, to be honest,” he said. “I haven’t tried the wet tyres so I hope they work without blankets. I don’t know at the moment.

“I think it’s better that maybe we can get to test them maybe in practice before actually throwing them into the race. I hope it’s not going to rain for the race only.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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57 comments on ““Dangerous, pointless” ban on tyre warmers will cause a crash – Hamilton”

  1. “Dangerous, pointless” decisions by drivers will causes crashes – not the tyres, their temperature or their pressure.

    1. That’s the most myopic take. Cars including their tyres can be dangerous. Pointless changes can be made to them that make them more so.

      1. Cars and tyres aren’t dangerous. They are inanimate objects.
        What drivers do with them is the entire problem (if there is actually a problem).

    2. Exactly! Once they have tires designed to properly support the car stone cold, it will be only up to the “best drivers in the world -?” to deal with it. If those lowly IndyCar drivers can handle it, then………

  2. Actually, no, more fuel will not be used. The race is still the same distance and if the drivers have to be more cautious during their out lap, they will use less fuel.

    1. @g-funk Obviously the race distance is the race distance. For practice sessions and especially qualifying more laps will be needed to get the tyres up to temperature without destroying them in the process.

    2. Well, there’s a lack of understanding of thermodynamics. The energy to bring the tires up to temperature has to come from somewhere. Right now, it’s coming from the tire warmers.

      Fuel will be consumed to bring the tires up to temperature. More aggressive braking, burnouts, and weaving will be required. At cooler events, Hamilton’s right– it’s a safety concern.

      1. You really think drivers are going to brake harder, do burnouts, and weave on their out laps during a race? Maybe during a restart or during a safety car but they do that now. Well there’s a lack of understanding of how every other racing series in the world who operates without warmers works. Try watching Indycar to see their out laps during green flag racing.

        1. comparing a spec series with significantly less aerodynamic and tire requirements is a moot point
          this isn’t a dig at indycar so keep the inferiority complex to yourself

          I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that even if Pirelli perform the miracle of creating a tire that doesn’t require a blanket, the very nature of F1 means the aero philosophies dictate the windows. If a Haas needs three laps to heat up tires, its three laps, it doesn’t matter what Hulk/Mag do, the philosophy requires three out laps. We’re already seeing this with cars like Mercedes and those tires are already heated, throw in variable track dependencies and you start to understand the complexities. So unless Mario Isola is custom making these new compounds for each team – a wasteful endeavor – removing tire blankets in the name of carbon footprint is greenwashing especially so when the driver will just use the PU to generate heat into the tires because you know, that’s how the laws of thermodynamics work. The heat has to come from somewhere.

          I all for looking for a better way to get heat into the tires. I want make that very clear. I’m just saying when a pitstop is already unfavorable due to lost time, tacking on colder tires will not only disincentivize extra stops and its derivative outcomes a la overcuts/undercuts; it creates an unnecessary spectacle at the cost of safety.

          1. If Pirelli makes a tyre (any tyre) – then it’s up to the teams to make it work. They don’t have to tailor it for anyone.
            At most, they will aim it at the highest performing cars just so it doesn’t increase the chances of suffering construction failure of its own.

            Removing tyre warmers is absolutely the right way forward, and tyres that work well without will only be produced when the tyre warmers are completely outlawed – when the crutch is removed.
            Pitstops are disincentivised in F1 already for a large number of reasons – removing tyre blankets/pre-heating doesn’t really change that. No matter what the rules are, teams will minimise the amount of time lost.

            Safety is not compromised unless the drivers are completely unskilled and irrational. If that’s the case, it just proves that F1 doesn’t have ‘the best’ drivers at all.

    3. And with F1 being completely Mickey Mouse now and throwing a VSC, SC and red flag for absolutely everything these days, they’ll probably end up using half the fuel.

  3. Super Formula hasn’t used tyre blankets for some time & nothing dangerous has happened consequently, so if those drivers can survive with cold tyres after the pit stops, so can F1 drivers without things becoming unnecessarily risky.
    How would getting temperature into tyres cause higher fuel consumption?

    1. With roughly half the horsepower and torque

      1. And likely better tyres than these Pirelli crap too.

    2. I think they should go back to one tire choice- a single compound, if driven properly with the right set up, would last the entire race- if not you incur a stop and go penalty during the pit stop to replace tires. Go back to manual shifting with gear levers and eliminate radio communications. Reduce the size of the wings and go to single tier wings. Make the drivers drive the cars. After all they are drivers.

      1. And take the engines away, cut holes in the floor and make them do a Flintstones.

  4. IndyCar has never used them. Learning how to drive on cold tires shouldn’t be a problem for “the best drivers in the world” should it?

    1. Indycar is also much slower than F1.

      1. IndyCar is not much slower than F1. Ford Fiesta Cup is much slower than F1. IndyCars go out of the pits and go into a turn at 200kph, just like F1 – but with much less aerodynamic grip. IndyCars are generally much harder to handle, so stop with the excuses.

      2. Indycar is much faster. Look at Indy.

    2. The tyres in Indycar are specifically designed with having no warmers in mind so they come upto temperature from cold very quickly.

      The concern from drivers in F1 is that the Pirelli tyres aren’t designed to run from cold and so not only take significantly longer to come upto temperature but also suffer from cold graining if run below the optimal working range.

      In Indycar tyres are into a working range within a lap When testing was done without blankets the F1 Pirellis were taking 5-6+ laps and were grained to the point of been practically useless when they got there.

      Pirelli created a tyre that was supposed to improve those concerns but when tested last year they were no better which is why the planned reduction in blanket temperature for this season was dropped.

      1. PeterG
        Hey Einstein, don’t you think if the rules change, Pirelli will also adjust their tyres for the new rules?
        Last year there was rule change and guess what – Pirelli changed their tyres.

        1. Didn’t read the last paragraph did you.

          Pirelli did create a tyre which was tested that was supposed to be better when run from cold and when it was tested (Including a test on Friday at COTA last year) it was found to be inadequate which is why they backed away from the planned reduction of blanket/starting temperatures for this year.

          And remember that the blanket ban was supposed to be in place along with the switch to 18″ wheels but they moved away from that because when they tested the revised tyres the problems starting from cold were still there which is why they want with the planned reduction year on year which they also had to back away from this year because the tyres they tested for this year were found to be not suitable at starting at the reduced temperatures.

  5. If there is less grip when the tires are cold, drive slower. When discussing driving, sometimes it seems like the drivers don’t realize they control the speed of the car.

    1. That is both solving and creating a problem at the same time. If you drive to slowly with these F1 tyres, they will never warm up and might get damaged before their true lifespan.

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    25th February 2023, 14:23

    I agree with his point about it not being greener – the energy usage from tyre warmers is already miniscule in the grand scheme of things and if they all do an extra warm-up lap in quali, that likely negates any benefit.

    I don’t buy the safety issue though. I have no doubt that it’s less safe to drive with cold tyres but it’s not as unsafe as driving in the rain and I don’t see Lewis arguing that cars should only be raced in perfect conditions.

    Ultimately I think it’s the same thing we see all the time in F1 – banning tyre warmers will not benefit Mercedes or Hamilton so therefore, they don’t want it and will use any sensible sounding argument to back up their case.

    1. @petebaldwin I tend to agree on both points. I think there are far bigger steps the FIA could take to be more green. I also think the safety argument is rubbish.

      Hamilton and Mercedes would spend their time better looking into other ways they can heat their tyres faster either through an engineering solution or by learning how to drive to warm them up quickly without wearing them excessivly rather than crying “safety” like they did last year about porpoising.

      1. Most of those solutions have been banned by the FIA in the name of “cost savings”.

        1. I think we all know of one solution …. Das is gut.

    2. Gangadhar Ambali
      26th February 2023, 19:01

      PERFECT is the word.
      he is lucky to be in a perfect team for all his championships.

      he likes everything to suit him.

      like some one said last year
      this guy only knows to win from pole (not entirely true)

      why dont F1 run all 2020 spec cars, so that he can win again.

  7. A two meter wide, five and some meter long car weighing close to a tonne is not going to be “skating” if the tyres, which are excessively wide mind you, are used at ambient temperatures.

    Hamilton may have to drive a but slower, but given he’s one of the best in F1, this should actually give him more opportunities to showcase that and extract valuable time from those first laps. Kinda like what happens all the time in other series.

    1. Physics wasn’t a strong point for you, was it?

      Large, heavy car, with relatively small contact patches in tires that only operate well in specific (high) temperature ranges.

      Yeah, skating is definitely an option.

      1. Classy response.

      2. Nobody is pretending the cars will ‘operate well’ when they’re fitted to the cars new. But they’ll come into that range soon enough, and drivers like Hamilton are more than capable of bringing them there without doing anything silly. Far less talented people than him do it all the time in racing series the world over.

        These drivers go through this same complaint every time the safety car is out. Nothing ever happens, and what’s more, they’re all perfectly happy to push and attempt passes on those supposedly cold tyres.

  8. The notion that banning tyre warmers would be greener is absurd. It would be a token gesture. The amount of energy that goes into making tyres and the amount of fuel that gets gobbled up freighting them to the tracks completely dwarfs the footprint of the tyre warmers.

  9. The safety/use of warmerless tyres aside, I think this tyre warmer ban may be one of the best examples of absolutely useless ‘greenwashing’ I’ve ever seen. Not the most high-profile, but it’s up there with the most beautifully crafted, overpromoted yet utterly rubbish ones.

  10. I never understood the problem with tire warmers.

    1. stephen Burroughs
      25th February 2023, 18:49

      I believe the problem being it has the possibility of attracting stray cats who may sit on said warmers. Causes a health and safety nightmare.

      More realistically though. Its just one less thing for each team to lug around, cost saving of not having them and running them may be small, but multiply that over all the teams over an entire season, an it soon adds up.


      It’s all BS.

  11. Designing a wet-weather tyre that works well when it is cold is surely a good thing, because they are used in cold, wet, and hazardous conditions, and often used when cars are doing several laps behind a safety car with drivers complaining it is too slow and they can’t keep the heat in the tyres. That needs Pirelli to design a better tyre with a side operating temperature. But for slicks, I’ve no idea what issue they are trying to solve. Is it a safety issue? Is it considered a driver aid? Is it a cost-saving measure? It is not as if big teams with deep pockets have better tyre warmers than the lower ranks.

    1. But for slicks, I’ve no idea what issue they are trying to solve. Is it a safety issue? Is it considered a driver aid? Is it a cost-saving measure? It is not as if big teams with deep pockets have better tyre warmers than the lower ranks.

      It’s twofold; it saves money and it saves energy.

      At Pirelli’s insistence, this change is being phased in, and this already started back in 2021 when the maximum allowed temperatures were reduced. They’re slowly bringing them down and Pirelli is changing the tyres to adapt to these changes as well. The 2021 tyres were never meant to be raced without warmed. The 2024 tyres will be.

      1. Michael, thank you for the thought-provoking response. Do you mean it saves money on tyre warmers, or do you mean the savings come in the manufacturing process? I know the tyres are crazily expensive at the moment, about $35,000 per car per race weekend, with the teams paying about $26,000 of that, but it isn’t clear to me if the FIA pays the difference or if Pirelli bears the extra cost. Whichever it is, I can well believe that using a less exotic construction will reduce costs significantly, and as preparing the rubber is an energy-intensive process, that would also explain why it is described as energy-saving.

        1. In the reporting by AMuS from September last year they noted that the teams were happy to be rid of the ‘expensive’ warmers. How much that actually matters in the world of F1 is debatable, but they did note that the smaller teams are pushing for Pirelli to stick to the schedule of removing the warmers by 2024, so apparently they do notice it on their budgets.

          They also wrote that keeping the tyres at temperature for prolonged periods of time during a race weekend was costing significant amounts of energy that made reaching F1’s carbon-neutral target harder. Again, it’s debatable how big of a role this has in the whole circus. Optics probably played a role here too, as F1 has become just about the only series to use tyre warmers and they were probably conscious of this practice being an easy target for criticism. For the 2023 season, the tyre warmers can only bring the tyres up to 50 degrees Celsius, which is already much lower than it was before.

          The big issue for Pirelli, and the reason they wanted this phasing-in period, is that the construction of the tyres needs to be reworked quite extensively. As AMuS noted, Pirelli makes tyres for F2 that are never warmed, but because the loads are much lower they can start at about 0,9 bar (13 to 15 PSI) and get that to a steady 1,3 bar (20 PSI) during the race. In F1, the loads are much higher so starting that low is not ideal, hence Pirelli’s tyre pressure floor usually being around 1,4 bar (20-21 PSI) and the pressure then climbs to around 2 bar (30 PSI) during the race. As Pirelli’s Isola said, making the tyres work well with this difference in load and temperature is tricky because cars like the Red Bull put significantly more load on the tyres than the Williams, so the way the tyres warm up is different as well. (I hope I got those numbers correct!)

          Teams will always complain about the tyres first, because that’s something they have no control over. Pirelli has quite the thankless job, even if they’re not flawless themselves. But the 2024 tyres will be very different from the 2023 tyres, so a driver now saying the tyres become tricky at lower temperatures is rather pointless. The previous and even current 2023 tyres were never meant to be used like that, which is why Pirelli hasn’t made them to work at those temperatures.

          1. Michael, that reply was worthy of being an article on here. It is certainly better informed than most of the articles on here. Thank you for explaining the issues.

  12. More crashes is good for the show, that’s what its all about…The Show

  13. What is the energy consumption compared to lighting the whole track for a few hours?

    1. This is F1, sir. How dare you use common sense?!

  14. Ham is just another bubbled teenager who has never grown up. Spent his whole life in an entitled life but still wants to lecture everyone else about their lives. He’s classic NWO , WEF , SCHWAB material, and hes dumb enough to be swept into that agenda!

    1. Superman!
      Truer words have never been spoken!

    2. Oh, I’m sorry, please explain what your racing credentials are and what you’ve accomplished in your “racing” life?
      You arrogant people that have never driven any sort of car in competition make me sick.

    3. Yeah, How dare Hamilton tell ME what temperature my tyres should be….. Is it leased or freehold the flat he rents in your head?

  15. The carbon footprint nonsense either way here makes me laugh. It’s nothing compared to fixing the calendar to be more economical, or racing under thousands of bulbs, or the car emissions of any average town in a day. I can’t believe it gets used as a marketing stunt at all tbh.

  16. Lots of good points on safety, skating and costs, but nothing on race strategy.
    If the tyres take longer to warm up, this is going to have a big impact (no pun intended) on race strategy.
    If the delta for an extra stop, assuming that one stop is the norm, is effectively increased, it will definitely change the approach and tyre useage.
    Were I with a team, I would be building a solar powered tyre storage container. Not a warmer, just a container that might be black and have a rotator inside it. Problem is there will probably be a Tech Reg limiting temperatures anyway.

    1. Most series just put their wheels out in the sun all day. They can reach 50 degrees even without electrical warmers.

  17. All of the teams have tire warmers. Where is the budget savings in banning something that they already have?

  18. Gangadhar Ambali
    26th February 2023, 18:51

    Why, this is the only guy complaining.

    I see a connection between his car not doing well on hards and the complain.

    Same as porpoising last year.

  19. It’s one thing to warm up tires on outlaps, practices and qualification, but what about mid race pit stops? You’ll have a whole different calculation to make for risk vs rewards.

    Anyone going too fast on these cold tires might find themselves sliding off a corner.

    Drivers exiting the pits on new tires aren’t thinking I need to drive cautiously for 2 laps, they’ll be looking to race on new tires with a presumed advantage.

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