Pirelli Counters F1 Drivers’ Criticism on Wasted Wet Tyres
The implementation of new Alternative Tyre Allocation rules during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend sparked a debate regarding the direction of sustainability in Formula 1. To enhance sustainability, F1 reduced the number of dry tyre sets available to drivers from 13 to 11 for the Hungaroring weekend. Additionally, teams were required to use hard, medium, and soft compounds in the three qualifying segments, resulting in a total saving of 17 tonnes of equipment being shipped to each race.
Although these changes added excitement to the battle for pole position on Saturday, some drivers expressed concerns about limited track action in Friday practice due to the reduced availability of tyres. Lewis Hamilton, among others, questioned the impact of sustainability efforts, pointing out the significant number of unused wet tyres being discarded every weekend.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also emphasized the need to address the issue of wasted wet tyres instead of reducing entertainment for fans. However, Pirelli has countered the drivers’ claims, stating that unused wet weather tyres from European races are retained for future use.
Pirelli’s head of F1 and motorsport, Mario Isola, clarified that for European events, the tyres fitted on rims are kept and carried over to supply teams with the same sets for subsequent races. As for overseas events, the logistics are more complicated as both the rims and tyres have to be transported separately for customs reasons.
To further improve sustainability, Pirelli is exploring ways to reuse rain tyres even after they have been removed from the rims. One idea is to allow dismounting and refitting of tyres for subsequent events. Moreover, for races in regions with predictable weather conditions (e.g., Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, or Jeddah), not fitting all the tyres could open up the possibility of using them for another event, once the new dismounting procedure is in place.
Pirelli is diligently researching whether tyres stripped from rims can be effectively put back into action. Preliminary analysis indicates a very low percentage of tyres that cannot be reused.
Furthermore, the potential for reusing tyres is greater for wet weather and intermediate tyres that are not pre-heated. Tyres that have gone through a heat cycle cannot be used again because if one tyre in a set is damaged, all four must be replaced to ensure uniformity. However, without pre-heating blankets, individual damaged tyres can be replaced, leading to significant waste reduction.
In conclusion, Pirelli is actively working on various solutions to minimize the waste of wet and intermediate tyres, making strides toward a more sustainable future for Formula 1.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about sustainability efforts
What are the Alternative Tyre Allocation rules introduced in the Hungarian Grand Prix?
The Alternative Tyre Allocation rules were implemented during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend in Formula 1. These rules reduced the number of dry tyre sets available to drivers from 13 to 11. Additionally, teams were mandated to use the hard, medium, and soft compounds in the three qualifying segments, aiming to improve sustainability in the sport.
How much equipment is saved by reducing the number of tyres for the weekend?
The reduction in the number of tyres needed for the weekend results in a total saving of 17 tonnes of equipment being shipped to each race, contributing to the sustainability efforts in Formula 1.
Why did some drivers criticize the reduced tyre availability during practice sessions?
Some drivers criticized the reduced availability of tyres during practice sessions because it limited the track action on Fridays. They believed that this restriction affected their preparation and practice ahead of the race weekend.
What did Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz say about the sustainability push?
Lewis Hamilton expressed his concern that the sustainability push in Formula 1 should go beyond just reducing one or two sets of tyres. He mentioned that a significant number of wet tyres were thrown away every weekend, indicating the need for addressing this issue.
Carlos Sainz also echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that the focus should be on finding ways to reuse wet tyres rather than reducing the entertainment for fans.
How did Pirelli respond to the drivers’ claims about wasted wet tyres?
Pirelli countered the drivers’ claims, stating that unused wet weather tyres from European races are retained for subsequent races. The tyres fitted on rims are kept and carried over to supply teams with the same sets for future events.
What is Pirelli’s plan for reusing tyres in the future?
Pirelli is actively researching ways to enable the dismounting and refitting of tyres for future events, which could help reduce the waste of wet and intermediate tyres. This would allow for greater sustainability in the sport.
What is the potential for reusing tyres that have been stripped from rims?
According to Pirelli, the potential for reusing tyres that have been stripped from rims is promising. Analysis conducted after the initial races showed a very low percentage of tyres that cannot be used again, indicating that many of these tyres can be effectively brought back into action.
How does the absence of pre-heating blankets impact tyre reuse?
Tyres that are not pre-heated, such as wet weather and intermediate tyres, can be more effectively reused. When a tyre is damaged and cannot be used, individual damaged tyres can be replaced without having to replace the entire set. This helps reduce waste and enhances sustainability efforts in Formula 1.