Official supplier Pirelli has been making preparations for F1 to abandon the use of tyre warmers from next year as part of a wider push to improve grand prix racing’s sustainability.
However, with previous attempts to ban tyre warmers having been abandoned because of the technical complexities of devising with products that can cope with excessive temperature and pressure variations, the change for 2024 is not yet guaranteed.
Pirelli has been pushing on with a private programme to develop tyres that do not need pre-warming, and it is now targeting a focused effort leading up to a post-British GP test of its latest products before a final decision will be made.
If it is happy with how things are progressing, and the FIA has no concerns about a tyre blanket ban being implemented, then it has now been agreed that the matter will be put to a vote that involves teams.
Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola told Autosport: “Silverstone is one of the races where we have two days of testing after the race. And the idea is that after Silverstone, we will analyse the data, and we will analyse the situation together with the teams, the FIA and F1.
“Then we will decide if we can achieve the target for 2024 or if it is necessary to postpone it.”
In newly published regulations, motor racing’s governing body said that the vote would have to be taken no later than 31 July.
The rules added: “For the regulation change to be adopted successfully, the FIA, F1 and a simple majority of competitors (5 out of 10) will all have to vote in favour.”
Pirelli technicians in the pit lane
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
The stipulation for a simple majority of teams being in favour means there is no guarantee that the rule change will go ahead even if the FIA and Pirelli are happy.
Isola said it was too early to gauge how teams feel about the matter, as he acknowledged the issue was a complex one.
“I don’t have a clear feeling, and honestly it is difficult to make a prediction,” he said. “I believe that it’s a target of everyone to go in this direction for sustainability, but clearly nobody wants to damage the show.
“I don’t want to say it’s an impossible target, because it is not an impossible target. But it’s a very big challenge.
“My feeling is that people think that it was a much bigger challenge to move from 13-inch to 18-inch wheels, and that blankets are not an issue.
“But it’s not the same because F1 is a different championship. It’s the fastest series in the world and the one that is putting the highest level of energy into the tyres.
“When you have this energy, and you grow the pressure, you have compounds that have to work from a very extended range of temperatures and so on. It is difficult.”
If the vote goes in favour of going ahead with the blanket ban for 2024, then Pirelli plans to continue private testing before running the new rubber in free practice sessions at the Japanese and Mexican Grands Prix.
McLaren Pirelli tyres and wheels
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Isola said that tyres that did not need heating would have to have all-new compounds and constructions compared to the current range.
“We need to design compounds able to work from 20 to 120 degrees, or we are risking having too bad warm-up or too much overheating,” he said.
“Then because of the increase of pressure that you have from cold to hot, which we estimate is probably more than 9/10 psi, we have also to design a new construction.”