(Motorsport-Total.com) – Pirelli said for the first time publicly that Red Bull and Aston Martin were driving at low tire pressure in Baku, but they did not break regulations. Previously, the tire manufacturer’s announcement only vaguely stated that “operating conditions” were responsible for tire damage in Azerbaijan. However, on Thursday, Pirelli became concrete.
© Motorsport Pictures
An error occurred in the search for performance for Red Bull in Baku
“In Baku, the expected operating conditions were different from the actual operating conditions. This caused the damage,” says Mario Isola, director of Pirelli.
This means that Red Bull and Aston Martin drove with less tire pressure than Pirelli had calculated. During the measurement, both teams were still within the required range, but unlike the other teams, they were able to prevent the pressure from increasing as much during the race.
“When a lot of power is pumped into the tire at low pressure, you get what’s called a standing wave on the sidewall,” Isola explains. “The standing waves put a lot of energy into the inner shoulder of the tire. At some point the tire breaks. It happened in Baku.”
Expectations did not match
However, according to the Italians, it was not the extremely low pressures that were part of the problem. The performance expectations for the weekend, which Pirelli provided from data provided by the teams, also did not match what was happening on the track. Already after Friday, the reaction increased by increasing pressure.
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“The expected loads, the downforce, the speed are all simulated. In Baku we found some parameters that did not match what we saw on the track,” Isola says. “We assume they drive with a certain pressure and a certain curvature. With a small margin we drive in the right tire conditions.”
But in Azerbaijan, those conditions have not been met because the teams are “looking to perform as usual,” Isola said. “This created a different scenario than expected. The scenario was that the tires were running at lower pressures than expected.”
No violation of regulations
The Pirelli manager also maintains that the teams have not done anything to break the regulations. Because there is, only the minimum pressure required to measure before starting, but none during the race.
“If the rules don’t say you have to keep pushing while driving, I can’t say your performance search violated the rules,” he says. “If you stick to the starting pressure, stick to the rules.”
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But that will change next year, when all teams are equipped with a standard sensor and have to stick to minimal pressure while racing. “If the same thing happened again next year, it would be against the rules. But it won’t be this year,” Isola said.
However, he’s not surprised that teams exhaust all means in their search for performance: “They’re here to race and not just roam the track. And we know you can find some performance with less pressure.” In fact, there should have been differences of more than psi between teams in Baku.
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