One of the bigger stories this year is certainly the issue of tire pressures mandated by Pirelli and monitored with rigor during the grand prix weekend. This weekend’s European Grand Prix in Baku was an unknown for everybody including Pirelli and they increased the rear tire pressures leading Mercedes driver and triple-champion Lewis Hamilton to call the regulation “ridiculous”.
“We have a new record on tyre pressures so they were obviously worried coming to this weekend,” added Hamilton.
“They pumped up the rears to 22psi, which is the highest we’ve ever had this tyre, which is ridiculous.
“But it’s driving OK, so as long as there are no blow-ups we’ll do what we can with that.”
Pirelli’s Mario Isola responded with a potential review of the pressures mandated for Baku:
“We are going to analyse the data, compare the real telemetry data with the simulation to understand if we need to modify the prescriptions,” he said.
“We don’t intend to modify the camber as they already have set up the car with the camber but we need to understand if we have room to modify pressure.
“That can mean going down or going up, because if we underestimated the severity of the circuit we are obliged to maybe go up, or if we overestimate we can go down.
“Usually this doesn’t happen for a circuit that we know because the simulation is very accurate, the historical data is available when we decide the preview.
“We do the same analysis after FP2, but in 100 per cent of the cases until now we confirm the prescription.
“This could be the first case in which we have to change the prescription because we have none of this data available.”
As AUTOSPORT points out the curbs were cutting the tires and this was said to be down to the loosening bolts holding the red and white curbing to the asphalt. The FIA made repairs and the FP2 session seemed to be much better with no cuts reported.
The tire pressure issue has ramped up in part because teams have been fluctuating their pressure levels and running the tires close or over the limit and Pirelli are keen to prevent blowouts due to under-inflated tires. There were allegations that some teams were using trick kit to reduce pressure after scrutinizing and the FIA now checks the pressure on the grid prior to the start of the race. Even so, there are still allegations and innuendos and this means that tremendous gains are being made by lower pressures (obviously) but to Pirelli it is running close to safety concerns over low pressures and high velocities.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT