No further action was taken by Italian Grand Prix race stewards following an investigation as to why Lewis Hamilton’s left-rear tire was under the allotted tire pressure limit set by Pirelli. Teammate Nico Rosberg’s left-rear was also under inflated as well.
Conspiracies flew as the allegations that the left rear tire was an unfair advantage and that Mercedes knowingly filled the tires to meet scrutinizing only to lower when the tire cooled off. The FIA race stewards were convinced the team followed proper procedures and assessed no penalties leaving hamilton’s victory untarnished by a penalty or worse.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, ever quick with an opinion, was not about to be silent on this issues telling AUTOSPORT and press:
“The question is about the procedure,” said Wolff. “We check them when we put them on the car.
“You could say when is the moment you should actually check them – five minutes, eight minutes before?
“It is about defining the procedure on when the tyres are checked in the future so it’s the same for everybody.”
So did Mercedes deliberately try to set pressures at one level and then allow them to drop thus fooling the FIA scrutineering process? Wolff says rubbish:
“I can absolutely rule that out,” he said.
“We have worked the whole week after Spa with Pirelli in order to make the tyres safe.
“We are very much part of trying to guide them on minimum tyre pressures and minimum camber, which we already had on our cars in Spa.
“So I can rule out that we would try to gain an advantage in a way that is unscientific and uncontrollable.
“How do you measure how much a tyre pressure drops when you disconnect it – and why would you only have it on one tyre and with discrepancies on two cars?”
So now we need new rules and regulations and procedures that F1 fans at home can’t follow or understand and teams must account for. It’s becoming like the US government who seem to think that life is about creating new laws and regulations daily and burdening the system with so much red tape that its efficacy is reduced to the ability to confuse itself and the people it governs.
Just how many race infractions, regulatory infractions, technical infractions and actual driver and team infractions are the stewards now responsible for during a race weekend? It’s impossible to manage and it’s getting out of hand to be honest. the 160+ penalty positions handed out this weekend between Red Bull and Toro Rosso are just sheer knuckle headed madness.
As for the tires, Lewis Hamilton foreshadowed this issue by saying:
“In terms of putting the pressures up, I don’t think it’s the right thing, but they might not do it anyway.
“But I don’t think any of us have tried 5psi more because they are not designed to have 5psi more; they work in a range. So we will be moving out of the optimum range of the tyre, we’ll be using a different part of the tyre, which means more wear, less grip. It’s going to be a disaster.
“ So I hope they don’t put 5pis more in. A couple is ok.”
He’s right, they didn’t do it in his case and it nearly was a disaster for him. On one side of the equation, this is a bit baffling but as much invective that was heaped on Pirelli’s demand for 5psi more air pressure in the tires for Monza, you can also understand how just a little less air is also a big impact on the car. You can read our own Paul Charsley’s take on how it impacts a car here.
So if adding a little air is a bad thing and the drivers, like Lewis, were seriously not happy about it, then running a lower pressure would have another impact logically. While I think a lot is being made of this and it’s a bit of a storm in a tea cup, I do not want to marginalize the effect of running lower tire pressures either.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT