Pirelli says air pressure is only answer to Zandvoort banking

On last night’s podcast, we discussed the proposed banking at the Zandvoort circuit for the Dutch Grand Prix slated for 2020. The challenge, as we mentioned, would be the impact it would have on the current specification of tires from Pirelli.

We pondered the challenge, ruminated on the 2005 Us GP debacle and then wondered why 2021 might not be a better given the plan to re-design the wheels and tires. Then again, Zandvoort is building the track now and can’t wait until 2021.

This means that something will have to be done in 2020 to avoid another Indianapolis incident and Autosport’s Mr. Noble sought out the answers. Pirelli motorsport boss, Mario Isola, said:

“The only thing we can do is to react with the pressure, and we will have to increase the starting pressure,” said Isola.

“If you look at the regulation we are obliged to stay on the same construction and same specification for the whole year, so we cannot design a tyre for the banking and we cannot design a specific construction, for Zandvoort.

“So the only possibility is to try to manage the prescriptions in terms of camber and pressure.”

He’s right, they can’t make a tire just for one race and perhaps the only thing to do is increase pressure which the teams will dislike. However, Pirelli have done simulation work already but they won’t have a clearer understanding until the teams weigh in with their data.

“We have also made a simulation of the track being completely flat and with the camber, so you can see the difference in terms of additional load on the tyre,” Isola added.

“That was what we had in mind to calculate.

“But now to make a proper investigation, we need to receive the simulation from the teams and then we are in a position to define the pressure.”

This could be a tough situation and even if the higher pressures help manage the banking, it may have an opposite impact on the racing for the rest of the track—in context with the teams performance goals of course.

The point is that surviving the banking is good but the higher pressures mean a different tire performance and that could upset teams and drivers.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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So, look at NASCAR and see what they did. They had banking in those turns, usually designed to keep the car planted on the track during those high speeds. Ask them what they did to deal with the g-force loads going effectively downward on the car.