BAHRAIN: Pirelli’s head, Mario Isola, has responded to safety concerns raised by Lewis Hamilton over the removal of tyre blankets in F1. The racing organisation has prioritised sustainability and plans to outright ban tyre warmers beginning with the 2024 F1 season.
Teams have already seen the maximum temperature allowed drop as well as a decrease in the permitted time when using them, but Pirelli and Formula 1 are planning to do more.
Lewis Hamilton had tested the proposed 2024 compound earlier this year and believed it was “dangerous” and “pointless” to ban the blankets.
Isola clarified that Hamilton tested the tyres in very cold temperatures and that the rubber he used was not the final product.
He stated that the idea to remove blankets was discussed years ago and that it is a common thought among the FIA, F1, teams, Pirelli, and promoters to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
Isola stated that any step to make the sport more sustainable is important, and one of these steps is to remove blankets, to avoid using electricity to warm up the tyre before using it.
The organisation tested some wet weather tyres before the Christmas break and found a new compound that is able to work without blankets.
In cold conditions, they made a comparison with the old tyre and blankets, and the comments were positive.
The Pirelli boss stated that developing tyres that are usable without blankets is a big technical challenge.
He stated that they need time to develop the tyres and have a plan, as well as an agreement to analyse the data in July.
Hamilton had raised concerns that drivers would use more fuel to get the tyres up to the right temperature, something that he suggested would negate any benefit of getting rid of the blankets.
Isola accepted that, but said it was a balance. He stated that if you need three, four, or five laps to find the grip, you use more fuel, and that should be accounted for when calculating the removal of blankets.
Isola’s response seems to have addressed the concerns raised by Hamilton and other drivers.
The movement towards sustainability is an important goal for the sport, and the removal of tyre warmers is just one step in that direction.
The organisation needs to make sure that safety isn’t put at risk in order to reach this goal, and it looks like Pirelli is doing what it needs to do to make sure this happens.
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