Vettel, Rosberg happy with Pirelli solution, Hamilton is not!

Pirelli released their finding on the tire issues experienced at the Belgian Grand Prix earlier today and the fallout has been mixed.

Sebastian Vettel is pleased with the response from Pirelli and so is Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Vettel said:

“We’ve been looking very closely into the issue we had,” said Vettel.

“Pirelli has been supportive and very open in the discussions, which is the most important thing, and to make sure we learn from that.

“They have been very, very professional, have handled it with extreme care, very seriously, things are going the right way, and our target now is to improve the situation and make progress.

“And what’s more important than any sort of press release is the feeling I got when I spoke to the engineers and to Pirelli.”

While Rosberg is quoted as saying:

“It has been handled with extreme precision and a lot of energy has gone into it, which I’m happy to see because it requires that,” he said.

“I’m confident we’ll be driving safely.”

But one guy who didn’t suffer a blowout like Vettel and Rosberg isn’t too happy with Pirelli’s suggestion and remedy of adding 5psi to the air pressure in the tires for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

That guy would be current world champion Lewis Hamilton who said:

“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.”

So the two drivers who were impacted by the event were fine with it but Lewis says this is going to be a disaster. Clearly this would be a different operating parameter the drivers would notice.

I went to our own professional driver, Paul Charsley, to get the lowdown on just how that would impact the situation.

Paul said:

“(It’s) a massive change, you would normally be working with 1 or 2psi increments. It would not be an adjustable an adjustable parameter so everything changes.

Springs, shocks, ride height etc. Everything changes. Go add 25% more air to your BMW and see how that feels. The cars are designed around the tire so the implications are huge. It certainly could be a huge impact and shake the grid up.”

I’m not a professional driver but Paul is so I take his word for it regarding the impact on the chassis. I do know the cars are designed around the tire, that’s why they are not at all happy about Michelin’s desire to move toward an 18″ wheel. It would radically impact the chassis they have been designing around all these years and a low-profile tire is not necessarily the best for F1.

Many believed that the outcome of Pirelli’s analysis would be a mandated lap limit per compound meaning 15 laps for softs, 20 laps for mediums. As it is, Pirelli are recommending teams move from 17/18psi to 22/23psi per tire.

Hat Tip: James Allen and AUTOSPORT

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Szabi Arnoczki

Putting more than 2 psi extra in the tire causes unwanted effects. Even loose contact . Suspension hits to hard . Oversteer understeer . I wouldnt do it

Negative Camber

Also, if it was merely debris and beyond average wear that prompted the issue, why make any recommended changes at all? Especially psi that high?

Paul KieferJr

Admittedly, I’m an ordinary driver, so I’m more used to the 30-35 PSI that’s recommended by the various manufacturers. Having it down to 17-18 PSI would scare the hell outta me.

Michael Self

An F1 car weighs much less than a road car, so the tires also need much less pressure.

Negative Camber

Yep, around 1,400lbs give or take a few.


What about the down force loads? The Static weight of the F1 cars are light, but they carry multiples of their static weight in down force, and are subject to braking and cornering loads of up to 4g (so four times load due to gravity).
I think the reason they run relatively low pressures, is to give a large ground contact patch, to generate the massive braking and cornering forces.


The reason Pirelli specified the minimum pressures is that some teams (Red Bull) were running the tyres at much lower pressures in conjunction with high camber angles, and then complaining when the tyres failed.
Lower pressures allows the tread to move more, so it changes the way the tyre heats up. It will also change the ride height of the car, so will alter the aerodynamic balance. Half of the ‘suspension’ movement of an F1 car is through flexing of the tyre sidewall, so changing the pressure has a dramatic effect on the spring rate for the car.

Paul KieferJr

Hmmm…..I think we faced similar problems in NASCAR.


That’s the bit that doesn’t gel for me, Todd. Pirelli’s report on tyre problems at Spa said that there were a vast number of cuts in tyres used at Spa (63?), compared to an average of just over 1 for other circuits. That would seem to be a reason to ask what change has been made to the Spa track that is leading to all these cuts, not a change to the tyre operation at another unrelated circuit. The tyre pressure change might be a case of Pirelli feeling they have to ‘do something’ , and handing the teams a… Read more »


that seems like a very odd solution to a problem.

“Engines keep blowing up, well turn up the boost to 11!!!”

Peter V Hearn

lower pressure in the tire allows it to deform more under loads but it also reduces the the amount of “spring” in the tire ( just like how the ride gets harsher in a car with airbag suspension when the bags have less pressure in them) essentially the higher pressure would ensure the tire stays in more rounded shape keeping it from rippling and folding under the load and causing a weak or pinched point where the tire might fail when its finally spun up to a much higher RPM and centripetal force kicks in. the 5 PSI is a… Read more »


Oh i know, my point was that it seems like trying to put out a fire by adding gas.

Jimmy Wallace

If they actually do this wouldn’t kerbs be even more of a danger to the tires? I sure wouldn’t want to be bouncing in & out of the Rettifilio with an extra 5psi & then roaring thru the Curva Grande not knowing if my tire was cut…