(Motorsport-Total.com) – The cause of tire damage has been explained in Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin). Tire manufacturer Pirelli published a statement late Tuesday night that provided some answers but also left unanswered questions.
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Max Verstappen tire damage at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
In the course of an in-depth investigation at the Milan plant, Pirelli found that there was no “production or quality defect” in any of the tires involved, and no signs of material fatigue or rubber surface deformation were found.
However, the statement said it was possible to “clearly establish” the cause of the tire damage. Accordingly, the “peripheral cut-out of the inner sidewall” was the cause of the tire blowout, which in turn was favored by the “tire operating conditions”.
Even before the Pirelli announcement, rumors were circulating in Formula 1 that teams had been cheating tire pressure more and more recently and that this could be the cause of tire damage. Since this rumor first came from Italy, Pirelli was sure to be the source.
Paul’s reaction to Pirelli’s statement
Pirelli released her own statement at 7:51 p.m. She explained that Red Bull and Aston Martin adhered to the set standards for starting (minimum tire pressure and maximum temperature for electric blankets). However, processes must be introduced to ensure better compliance with minimum pressures in the future.
Which begs the question: If all requirements regarding minimum tire pressures are met, why are new processes necessary? A subtext sheds a crooked light on Red Bull and Aston Martin which Red Bull defended itself at 8:16pm, just 25 minutes after Pirelli’s announcement.
The Austrian-British team writes that it can be confirmed that “no vehicle error was found. We have followed the tire standards set by Pirelli at all times and will continue to adhere to their recommendations”. Text note: “We are grateful that no one was injured in the high-speed accidents.”
The fact that Red Bull made it clear that the tire pressure in Baku was “at all times” above the 20 psi set by Pirelli (after Friday’s practice, the value was raised from 19 to 20 psi) contradicts claims that the teams are using Tire pressure methods to make it look like the rules when initially scaling, but to consciously lower them during the race.
This can be achieved, for example, by preheating the tires with warm heating caps shortly before the control measure before starting to a temperature higher than permissible, as this also increases tire pressure. The operating pressure at full speed will then be lower than intended, which means higher risks – but also greater grip.
Already stricter controls in Le Castellet
New investigation methods will now be introduced in France, with the FIA notifying teams as part of technical guidance. Specifically, this means that the tire pressure may not only be checked before driving but also after driving. This should be done on a random basis.
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Tire valves are closed for this purpose so the teams can no longer handle the tire pressure. In addition, tire temperature is checked with infrared cameras to ensure that hot blankets are not fooled by higher temperatures. The FIA race hosts are notified of any abnormalities.
This should be a thing of history by 2022 at the latest. Because then, in accordance with Article 10.7.3 of the Technical Regulations, sensors will be introduced in any case that can reliably measure tire pressure and temperature even while driving. The sensors are not developed and manufactured by the teams themselves, but by an independent manufacturer.
The teams are already able to measure tire pressure and temperatures using their sensors. However, the FIA does not consider these values reliable enough to be used in sporting regulatory decisions. Especially since not all teams use the same sensors and there may be deviations in the measurements.
Update: On Wednesday, after this article was first published, Aston Martin also has one on their team website. Opinion about tire damage at Lance Stroll in Baku Submitted. In terms of content, this is consistent with Red Bull’s statement and also confirms that Aston Martin has never violated the operating standards set by Pirelli for tyres.
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