F1 drivers still not 100% with the Pirelli tyres without the warming blankets as testing continues ahead of a vote in few months.
With the eye to remove tyre blankets in future, a number of teams and drivers are undertaking testing without it as the 2023 season goes on. Mercedes already did it in Paul Ricard ahead of the 2023 start with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in February.
It wasn’t the smoothest of tests as Hamilton branded it as dangerous. Aside the test in Paul Ricard, Pirelli has also tested in Portimao, Jerez and Fiorano. Following that, another test took place in Bahrain where the conditions would be whole lot of warmer. This test had several runners from various teams like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri.
But the net result was one of scepticism. Considering the conditions were warm, they still faced warming trouble straight out of the box which they reckon will be very difficult then in other colder conditions which they are certain to face during the course of the year.
That is not just with the slick compounds but the worry is also about rainy conditions where the grip is as it very low. But Pirelli were encouraged by the Bahrain test still considering that in the winter test, the tyres were termed dangerous. The testing is still in early stage but there’s little time as a vote for 2024 is slated for the British GP weekend.
Valtteri Bottas: “Pirelli test, there’s still work to do. I think Pirelli knows it as well and Formula 1 knows it as well. It’s quite a new concept for Formula 1 cars, with the amount of load we have in the cars, and having such a tyre that works from low temperature to high is not easy to make. I think Pirelli is really working hard on it. And yeah, it was mainly gathering data, learning how they handle. Obviously, warm-up is a bit of an issue when you don’t have blankets. But Bahrain is probably the easiest track to get the tyres to warm-up”.
“So it was actually manageable. But at this point, which is, from the beginning pretty obvious, the pressure rise is then massive when you start cold and when you end up 100°C, so that obviously makes the tyre drop-off significantly worse. Yeah. In my personal opinion, I don’t feel that’s the way to go but I think they’re working really hard and it’s obviously not up to us what’s going to happen in the future.”
Yuki Tsunoda: “Yeah, I was doing it. I don’t know what, to be honest. Yes, there has less grip than with a blanket tyre. But actually, Bahrain was slightly easier because there’s already really warm temperature. So like, I didn’t struggle at all with the warm-up. But the question is: if we go to, like, Imola, low temperature track, especially Intermediate, get out from garage, damp condition. It will be a lot more difficult than they think, I think, because even the current tyre with the blankets is very difficult to warm-up the tyre. So I expect without blankets, it’s just really hard to imagine it’s going to be the same or easier”.
Charles Leclerc: “I will be a little bit cautious with that. I think it went well, it was honestly a positive test. But Bahrain is a very specific track with very high temperatures so it’s not like warm-up is a very is a big concern. Everything went really well but let’s be cautious, because it’s in conditions that should help this test.”
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