Pirelli says it was satisfied with the first day of F1’s new tyre pressure measuring procedure – and has confirmed that it could lead to the minimum figures being reduced in the future.
Tyre pressures have become a major taking point this year with Pirelli following a conservative path and setting high figures in its pre-race prescriptions in order to ensure that teams run at what they regard is a safe level.
Prior to this weekend pressures were measured with the tyres fitted to the cars. It’s believed that some teams used pre-heated brake/hub assemblies to boost temperature and hence pressures after the tyres were fitted, raising the pressure above the minimum levels before the measurements were made. Out on track the temperature fell, and in turn pressures dropped to a lower level that suited the team.
From today pressures have been measured with the tyres in the blankets, at a set temperature, so there can be no outside influence to get the pressures up to the minimum.
“With this new system, to check the tyres before they are fitted on the car, we have a consistent system to measure it independent from the session,” said Pirelli technical chief Mario Isola. “So in FP1, FP2, FP3 quali and race we measure always the tyre in the same way, and we have consistent numbers in all the sessions.
“So we are 100% sure that only the blanket is heating the tyre. Teams are quite happy because once they have fitted the tyre they are not allowed to bleed air, but they have a reference pressure. I can give you a result in a couple of races when we have some numbers to evaluate, but for me this system is working. So let’s see what is going to happen.”
The FIA has told teams that is the system is successful, and it’s clear that pressures are no longer falling on track, then the starting minimums could come down.
“It depends on what we see now,” said Isola. “That’s why we wanted to take some races to check which is the pressure evolution from starting to running, because we need to see the starting and running pressure.
“Now we know that from starting to running we have some cases the same value, or even a lower value with the running pressure. If this situation is going to change for the future, as it was a couple of years ago, where the running pressure is higher than the starting pressure, then of course we can adjust the starting accordingly to the numbers that we see.”
Pirelli is keen to point out that the starting pressures are calculated from data submitted by the teams.
“The 22psi front here was generated by the simulations we receive from the teams. If we see, as in the case here, that this year on the front we have 100kgs more of load, and 10kph more of top speed expected, we generate a preview that is based on this information.
“On Friday afternoon we receive the telemetry from all the teams, and we can compare simulation with telemetry, something similar to what happened in Baku. If we realise that there is a discrepancy between the two we can go lower with pressure or increase the pressure, depending on the number that we see.
“Of course we have to based our prescriptions on the most severe cars, this is clear. They are the same for everybody, you cannot have customised prescriptions for each team, each car, each driver.”
Meanwhile Pirelli hopes to have a live tyre pressure monitoring system in place next season: “The live telemetry data we are discussing for next year is a different subject. We still want to investigate this opportunity. It’s not easy to implement this new system with let’s call it an FIA TPMS, but the target is also to investigate this possibility. We are working together with the FIA to find the best way to put everybody on the same page, and work with consistent prescriptions.”