Pirelli’s statement about what happened to the tires on Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull were met with confused looks and some criticism on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix.
This prompted Pirelli boss, Mario Isola, to explain further saying:
“What happened in Baku is simply that the running conditions expected were different compared to the actual running conditions – and that created the failure,” he said.
“When you have a lot of energy going into the tyres, with the pressure that is lower compared to the expectation, the result is that on the sidewall you have what we call standing waves.
“Standing waves are putting a lot of energy into the inside shoulder of the tyre. And at a certain point, the tyre breaks. That is what happened, and the reason why we had this situation in in Baku.”
The indication here is that the running conditions were different from what they were expecting and that Max and Lance were running at lower tire pressures than projected by Pirelli’s data.
Stopping short of suggesting the teams did anything untoward, they did say that they were running lower pressures and perhaps the temps in the tires had lowered bringing the tire pressure below the threshold Pirelli expected.
“We assume that they are running at a certain pressure, and a certain camber. And with a margin on it, of course, we run in a condition that is okay for the tyre.
“In that case, we didn’t achieve these conditions, not because teams were doing something against the regulations, but because they were looking as usual for performance, and that created a different scenario to what we were expecting. And the different scenario was that mainly the tyres were running at a lower pressure compared to expectation.”
It will prompt Pirelli to increase the PSI of the tires to accommodate for any cool running of the tires that lowers the pressure below an expected running condition and this could have an impact on performance in general as tire pressures are usually a critical component of grip and overall pace.
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