Pirelli finalising new guidelines as drivers express concern

Pirelli is understood to have agreed to a lower increase in its minimum F1 tyre pressures for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after consultation with teams.

Pirelli finalising new guidelines as drivers express concern
McLaren mechanic with Pirelli tyres
McLaren mechanic with Pirelli tyres
The Pirelli race tyres of Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari are taken from the paddock for further investigation
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari with his punctured Pirelli tyre
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 with new blonde hair colour
Jenson Button, McLaren
Pirelli tyres for the Ferrari team
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Federico Gastaldi, Lotus F1 Team Deputy Team Principal with Pirelli tyres
Pirelli tyres

In the quest for safety following two unexpected blowouts during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Pirelli had wanted to increase the mandated minimum pressures by 5psi at Monza as part of a package of tighter restrictions that also extends to cambers and other parameters.

An increase to 4psi front and 3psi rear was then mentioned, but sources now suggest that it is likely to change to a rise of 2psi.

It's understood that simulations are still being conducted by Pirelli, and the final numbers have yet to be determined. Details of what settings will be mandated by the FIA and Pirelli for the rest of the weekend will be revealed after practice tomorrow.

Although a 2psi increased is not as high as had originally been discussed, it still represents a change to which the teams will have to adjust on Friday.

Drivers voice concerns

Earlier in the day leading drivers acknowledged that Pirelli had taken measures to improve safety, but there were mixed feelings about using increased pressures as the key tool, and in particular an increase as high as the 5psi that was originally mooted.

“I feel comfortable coming here and running what we had before,” said Lewis Hamilton. “We had a very difficult corner, which is Eau Rouge, which takes a huge amount of g and pressure on the tyres, which I'm sure didn't help. Here you don't have that, whilst you have the long straights.

“In terms of putting the pressures up, I don't personally think it's the right way, but they might not do it anyway. I don't think any of us have tried 5psi more in the tyres because they're not designed to have 5psi more.

“We work in a range, and it's the optimum range, and we'd be moving out of the optimum range of the tyre. That would mean we'd be using a different part of the tyre, there would be more wear, less grip.

“It's going to be a disaster, so I hope they don't put 5psi more. A couple is OK.”

“Pretty scary limits”

Jenson Button praised Pirelli for responding, but suggested that raising pressures might not help.

“I'm happy that they've got limits,” he said. “They're pretty scary limits for every F1 team we've never run tyres with this pressure before, or such low camber, so we've got to see what happens in testing tomorrow.

“I understand why they are doing it, Pirelli, and I think we are all thankful that they are immediately changing something, and it should be better, because you've got less movement of the casing and the sidewall.

“Hopefully it will help. But if it is cuts, pressure is not going to make any difference. Who knows, maybe 2psi isn't enough? I think it's right for them to be extreme.

“I mean none of us likes limits anyway when it comes to cambers, toes, pressures, we all want to go racing, and do what we want, because that's part of racing we think.

“But in terms of safety it's the right thing. It's the same for all of us, we've all got to deal with it. Maybe it will work better on one car, I don't know, that's pure luck.

"We always have limits, these are just a lot higher than previously. We also have softer tyres here than last year. It hasn't been easy for Pirelli, I don't think.”

Alonso: “They are the experts”

Meanwhile Fernando Alono supported Pirelli while making it clear that he had doubts about a significant increase.

“They are always right because they are the experts on their product,” he said. “We don't know how it works. I'm confident.

“I see no problem this weekend, especially with the recommendations and limits that we have that I think will make an extra care of the safety. So full trust, and I'm sure that is the right decision.

“Nevertheless I think to be in F1 with the technology that we have in our cars to have these kind of limits is quite strange. We never raced or we never tested with these kinds of pressures or these kinds of camber limitations and things like that. It's the first time.

“But I agree they are probably necessity, those limits, and the first thing is safety. The limits are the same for everybody, so it's good.”

Alonso said that the changes would have less impact in Italy.

“I think Monza, the nature of the circuit, allows probably this kind of higher pressure without big penalty because there are only six corners on the track. I think it's a good thing to do.

“It will increase the safety without too much penalty, but as I said before it's the same for everybody, and it's good.”

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