Pirelli: Drivers to Adapt Driving Style Amid Potential Tyre Warmer Ban.

F1 tyre manufacturer, Pirelli, remains steadfast in their assurance that their prototype blanketless Formula 1 tyres are suitable for racing, despite George Russell expressing valid safety concerns regarding the potential ban on tyre warmers in 2024.

The proposed elimination of tyre warmers in Formula 1, primarily driven by environmental considerations related to the energy consumption of tyre-heating blankets, has been temporarily paused pending additional track testing and teams’ vote.

During the recent Pirelli tyre test in Barcelona, George Russell actively participated and expressed his reservations, stating that he does not believe that the sport is ready to do away with tyre warmers.

He said: “I don’t believe that as a sport, we are currently ready to introduce these tyres for actual racing.”

George Russell’s apprehension regarding the removal of tyre warmers stems from concerns about safety, particularly in cooler conditions.

During the Pirelli tyre test in Barcelona, Russell noted that the high track temperatures allowed for quick tyre warm-up, reaching the optimal operating window by Turn 5.

However, drawing from his experience with the tyres during winter tests, he expressed worry that crashes would be unavoidable during out-laps in colder weather. He further emphasized his fear for the safety of mechanics in the pitlane.

On the other hand, Pirelli’s F1 chief engineer, Simone Berra, described the Barcelona test as a “positive” experience, implying that the results were encouraging.

In anticipation of a potential vote that may result in the introduction of a ban on all types of tyre warmers in 2024 (a decision that was previously delayed in February), a final test is scheduled to take place at Silverstone next month. This upcoming test will play a crucial role in shaping the future of tyre warmers in Formula 1.

“We consider the tyre raceable because otherwise we would not have proposed it for the evaluation,” said Berra when asked by The Race about Russell’s comments.

“Yes they are raceable. The first sector could be tricky but apart from that it’s OK.”

According to Simone Berra, drivers will need to adapt their approach to the initial phase of out-laps if the ban on tyre warmers is implemented next year.

He firmly asserts that extensive testing has provided no grounds for apprehension regarding safety, both for the pitlane personnel and those on the track. Berra’s confidence is rooted in the belief that the transition can be managed smoothly without compromising overall safety standards.

“Obviously drivers need to think about the fact that not using the blankets is different than today, so they need to approach the out-lap in a different way,” said Berra.

“In cold conditions, it could be trickier to bring the tyres up to temperature but it’s just a matter of doing the first portion of the lap [cautiously].

“In the first sector, generally we can see much more difference compared to other sectors because already sector 2 and 3 are in line with the laptimes with the blankets, so it’s just a matter of managing the first few corners.

“But in terms of safety, I don’t see from the data any specific risk.

“You need to change the way you are driving in the first lap, you have to adapt the driving style to protect the tyres because you can generate graining if you push too much in the first corners and the tyres are not up to temperature.

“I respect driver opinion, that’s for sure, but obviously there will be differences compared to the old product and the [current] tyre management.”