How are new Pirelli tires tested in Austria?

All the teams are debuting a new rear rubber architecture this Friday at the Red Bull Ring with a view to its introduction at Silverstone in two weeks. 

 

Published on 02/07/2021 à 14:07

Julien BILLIOTTE

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How are new Pirelli tires tested in Austria?

The Pirelli prototypes are devoid of any marking / © DPPI

This Friday, it's new tires at Pirelli. The Italian manufacturer has in fact made available to the 10 teams on the field F1 a new rear rubber construction intended to provide enhanced integrity and superior rigidity. 

The decision comes less than a month after the spectacular tire failures suffered Lance stroll (Aston Martin) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) in Baku (Azerbaijan). The two pilots had been sent into the wall at high speed after the sudden deflation of their left-rear envelope, attributed to a “ circumferential crack of the interior flank » of the tire, says Pirelli.

The reinforced controls put in place from the following round at the French Grand Prix to ensure that the teams did not play with the pressure of the tires, nor the temperature of the heating blankets, were clearly not enough. Hence this desire to have a more robust rear tire as quickly as possible.

The teams must therefore use free practice at the Austrian Grand Prix (July 2-4) to get their bearings with a product whose introduction into the race is planned for the following round at Silverstone (July 16-18). 

Pirelli provided the teams with two sets of unmarked prototypes for Friday runs in Spielberg (Austria). In its pre-race instructions, the FIA ​​race direction specified the conditions of the test. 

It therefore asked the teams to complete at least 12 timed laps with the development tire, without counting the launch laps or the return to the pits.

Teams are also encouraged to run on track with different quantities of fuel to widen the prototype evaluation window as much as possible. 

Finally, note that the minimum rear pressure to be respected with the development tires is set at 18 psi by Pirelli, compared to 20 psi for the current specification. In other words, teams can run with lower rear pressures because the new tire is more durable. 

Despite the data transmitted by Pirelli ahead of the test, there was a bit of silence among the drivers before hitting the track. 

« It's a total unknown, we don't know how the car will behave., commented Valtteri Bottas Thursday. We'll see what happens. 

Usually, when Pirelli introduces a new tire, the differences are not obvious. From what I understand, this is an adjustment to improve reliability.

In my opinion, this won't change much but we might realize that some are more affected than others ». 

The current leader of the world championship Max Verstappen (Red Bull) was not much more forthcoming. 

« I don't even know what they changed », swept the Dutchman, who however told our Dutch colleagues that the very introduction of a new tire was fraught with meaning. Remember that Verstappen was not really convinced by Pirelli's explanations after the crash which cost him victory and 26 points in Azerbaijan.

The Batavian believes that if there were no problem with the tires, the Italian manufacturer, and the FIA, guarantor of the rules and safety in F1, would not have felt the need to rush the entry into service of 'a new construction. 

If the effective introduction of the new rear tire at Silverstone (United Kingdom) depends in theory on the return of the teams after the day's practice in Austria, in reality the matter is already more or less understood. The FIA ​​can indeed ratify regulatory changes for safety reasons and this should be the case at the next World Motor Sport Council. 

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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