The science involved in F1's tyre durability struggles
It’s fashionable among teams to knock the products offered by Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier, especially after the failures earlier in the season. But, as Pat Symonds explains, there are a number of unscientific myths behind these complaints against Pirelli.
The high-speed accidents experienced by Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix once again raised the subject of tyre durability. The somewhat obscure nature of the press release issued by Pirelli after its analysis of the failed tyres led to some rather ill-informed comments in various publications, so it’s worthwhile trying to understand both the nature of the failures and why the case was effectively closed as ‘unproven’.
To fully comprehend the problem, we need to understand a few different facts about tyres and basic mechanical engineering. First and foremost is to know how a tyre is constructed and how it carries load. Of course, a tyre contains a lot of rubber and other polymers but the real load-carrying capacity of a tyre is governed by the materials used to reinforce the rubber.
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