Pirelli raises concerns over 2015 tyre blanket banLaurence Edmondson April 4, 2014 « McLaren to run Esso sponsorship in Bahrain | McLaren and Williams look strong - Vettel »
Pirelli does not think it has a realistic time frame to develop tyres that will operate safely without blankets for next year.
From 2015 the use of tyre blankets will be banned under the regulations, creating a significant challenge for F1's tyre supplier Pirelli. The bigger variation in temperature between when the tyres go on the car and when they are up to running temperature creates a wider variation in tyre pressure, and Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery has warned that it will take time to develop a tyre that can cope.
"It's more to do with stopping a tyre becoming a balloon and being undrivable or dangerous," he said. "That's the biggest issue we're looking at and I have to say at the moment it looks very difficult to achieve for next season - going to no blankets while staying with the same tyre sizes.
"The real challenge for us is understanding how to manage the pressure and what happens to, not only the starting pressures which will be set too low because the growth in pressures will be so great, but also what happens when you get behind things like safety cars and the drivability if your pressure growth is so great. The pressure is the primary concern at this moment in time rather than having a range of compounds."
Hembery has no doubt that Pirelli can develop a tyre capable of running without tyre warmers given enough time, but thinks it will be close run thing with limited testing during the season.
"Everything is possible given time, but the number of parameters involved are so important and intrinsic to the inherent safety of the sport that it's not something that you can do lightly. While we do have an improved situation with testing, it's debatable whether that's sufficient to allow us to arrive at the solution we believe is robust enough for Formula One."
Asked what could make the situation easier, he said: "Reduce the air volume in the tyres; change rim profiles for example. It's big changes and not something you would do rapidly. You need to look at pressure control systems and you can't have people starting off with 8 PSI on the grid and correcting pressures after they've done some laps and warm up. There's a whole series of parameters that you have to manage and ensure are controlled correctly or you risk creating some very significant issues."
Other racing series have bans on tyre warmers, but Hembery said it is not the work of a moment to develop new tyres.
"The teams are certainly aware of it and have given us all the background to when they have discussed this [banning tyre warmers] seven or eight times in the past. The issues do remain. Some say there are other sports where you don't have tyre blankets, which is true of GP2, for example. But there are also a lot of other sports where the dimensions of the tyres are different and the starting pressures are dramatically higher - well over 20 PSI, and it's something that has evolved over time and not something that you do instantly. It's an area that has to be treated with caution, otherwise you think you are taking a positive step but are creating negatives. We have to make sure it's a win-win."
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1