Pirelli: Scrapping of blanket ban will improve tyre performance


Pirelli is confident that the decision not to proceed with the ban on tyre blankets will help improve the performance of its tyres.

The exclusive tyre supplier to the sport since 2011, Pirelli has warned that it might walk away in 2027 when its latest contract comes to an end.

The tyre manufacturer is understandably concerned at the bad press it gets when in fact it is the sport that dictates certain aspects of performance such as wear.

At a time teams are complaining of excessive wear and overheating, which leads to drivers needing to manage their tyres, Pirelli was concerned at the impending ban of tyre blankets which, drivers had warned, would also compromise safety.

With the sport now opting to scrap the blanket ban, Pirelli is confident that it can concentrate on improving the performance of its tyres.

"At least now the target is clear, and clearer compared to previous weeks," says Pirelli's chief (F1) engineer, Simone Berra. "We know that we need to work in 2024 with development tests to produce a new generation of compounds, and this will be the target.

"We'll continue to improve the reliability of the tyres in terms of structure," he adds. "But the compounds will be the focus for our 2024 development plan, and we will work obviously more focusing towards the overheating.

"We want to try to understand why, from 2022 to 2023, the overheating effect was higher. What was the reason?" he admits. "After this analysis, we'll try to understand where to work on the compounds to improve this aspect.

"Obviously we would like to have drivers able to push as much as possible and not to be managing the tyre temperatures. This is the target from our side."

In response to claims that it is the construction of the 2023 tyres that has led to overheating, he says: "I don't think it's a construction issue. I think that sometimes we have overheating comments, but it's not real overheating. The drivers just feel a lack of grip or a decaying grip, but sometimes it's just the tyre that is degrading itself because of wear or graining or for other reasons.

It happened in the past that we had overheating comments but it was not really overheating," he pointed out. "We had some races where we noticed that we had high temperatures. Especially the rear axle was affected by these high temperatures.

"So we need to distinguish which is the real reason. We need to work more on the compound for what concerns the overheating.

"We can work even with the structure, because if we have a more reliable tyre and if we can decrease a little bit the pressure, this will obviously help even the overheating effect.

"This will increase the contact patch and so you distribute more uniformly the temperature. But a compound itself doesn't change everything, it should work together with the structure. That's why we need to progress together, structure and compound."

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Published: 11/12/2023
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