Former F1 driver and Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle has slammed a proposed ban tyre warmers in the sport, warning the move could put drivers and stewards at higher risk of injury.
Formula 1’s tyre supplier Pirelli has been working on producing a tyre that doesn’t require pre-warming in a bid to reduce electricity consumption as part of the sport’s sustainability efforts.
The FIA are considering outlawing tyre warming from 2024, with F1’s ten teams set to vote on the proposal after July’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone if testing is successful.
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“Silverstone is one of the races where we have two days of testing after the race. And the idea is that after Silverstone, we will analyse the data, and we will analyse the situation together with the teams, the FIA and F1,” Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1, told Motorsport.com.
“Then we will decide if we can achieve the target for 2024 or if it is necessary to postpone it.”
During last weekend’s World Endurance Championship race at Spa, several experienced drivers crashed on their out lap due to cold tyres, particularly on the run down to Eau Rouge.
The carnage in Belgium prompted several F1 pundits, including Brundle, to question whether removing tyre warming blankets would be beneficial for the sport.
“Doesn’t make sense for F1 to ban tyre heaters,” Brundle tweeted on Thursday.
“Cars will get crashed negating any cost savings + efficiencies. Drivers/marshals at higher risk. The most expensive and inefficient way of heating racing tyres during testing, practice, qualifying and racing has to be using an F1 car.”
F1 drivers tested tyres at lower temperatures during the off-season, and reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen confessed it was “not enjoyable”.
“I think we‘re going to have a lot of crashes,” the Red Bull driver said.
Speaking ahead of this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton claimed that removing of tyre warmers would be a “pointless exercise”.
“I think it’s dangerous,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve tested the no blankets, and there is going to be an incident at some stage. So, I think it is the wrong decision.
“You have to drive multiple laps to get the tyres to work. The whole argument is that taking away the blankets is going to be more sustainable and more green, but in actual fact we just burn more fuel to get the temperature into the tyres.
“The more concern is when you go out – you are skating around and it is very twitchy. If someone else is on tyres that are working, you can easily collide with them. So, it is a pointless exercise.”
The F1 season resumed this weekend with the Miami Grand Prix, with lights out scheduled for Monday morning at 5.30am AEST.
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