How a brand new Pirelli method ought to silence F1's greatest tyre gripe - Motor Informed
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How a brand new Pirelli method ought to silence F1’s greatest tyre gripe

That’s actually the hope after the Italian firm not too long ago signed off on the specification of its new rubber, pending official homologation by the FIA.

The change from the present 13-inch dimension to 18 inches can be a serious problem for a tyre provider in any circumstances, but it surely is available in parallel with an enormous change within the specification of the vehicles, which is able to in flip affect how the tyres are used.

On prime of that Pirelli has to observe necessities of the goal letter offered by the FIA. And a key factor of that’s addressing the perennial drawback of floor overheating, the difficulty that always prevents drivers from pushing onerous all through a race stint, particularly when working in visitors.

If profitable, as Pirelli believes, the diminished overheating will probably be a serious contribution to enhancing the present in 2022, together with an aero bundle that permits vehicles to observe one another carefully.

Pirelli started its intensive check programme with mule vehicles tailored for the brand new tyre dimension again in 2019, when the change to 18-inches was scheduled for this season. The next one-year postponement gave Pirelli a bit extra time for R&D, though the pandemic meant that there was little precise on-track working in 2020.

This 12 months Pirelli scheduled 22 automobile days of working with dry tyres, which concluded when Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren ran in Budapest simply after the Hungarian GP. There have been additionally three two-day moist periods, with yet one more moist check to run with Alpine at Magny-Cours in September.

The 2022 development was finalised a while in the past, and up to date slick exams have targeted on refining the compounds. The definitive variations will subsequent be examined in December, once more on mule vehicles, within the week after the Abu Dhabi GP.

“The Hungary check was good, it was confirming our findings on the brand new product,” says Pirelli boss Mario Isola.

“It was the ultimate check for the softer compounds of the vary. 1 September is the deadline to homologate the development. However construction-wise, we have been already completely satisfied earlier than Hungary, and we’re going to affirm the development that was the most recent baseline that we used in the course of the check.

“For the compounds we’ve got finalised the evaluation, together with Hungary. And the plan is to current our outcomes to the FIA, FOM and the groups, and in addition to check our outcomes with the goal letter to see if the delta lap time, the degradation and different parameters are in keeping with the goal letter. 

“However the preliminary numbers I might say are are fairly good. And in addition the suggestions from the drivers was fairly good.”

Pirelli has a transparent path when growing any new tyre – repair the development first, after which hone the compounds. 

The change in sidewall will improve the general cornering stiffness of the automobile, which means that though steering must be extra direct because the tyre flexes much less, there will probably be a marked discount in total slip. 

The development was an enormous challenge this time round, with the smaller, stiffer sidewalls requiring a “totally different profile and development”, as Isola explains.

“We needed to perceive which was the correct route. Once we began with our tyre growth exams [in 2019], we had very totally different options and really totally different concepts.

“We examined with three totally different groups, after which in February 2020, with Ferrari, and roughly, all people was giving us a suggestions in a fairly exact route.

“So it was good to have all of the groups, regardless of utilizing mule vehicles that have been totally different, giving us a sign sure sort of profile and development was in the correct route.

“So then we continued to develop this profile and development. However clearly the subsequent steps have been smaller in comparison with the primary one.”

With the development signed off, optimising the compounds was the subsequent problem, particularly as one of many objectives was to handle floor overheating. Pirelli quickly realised that to resolve the issue it could in impact have to start out afresh.

“We principally had two selections,” says Isola. “To take the present compounds, and attempt to develop them additional in an effort to obtain the targets. Or to start out with a very totally different method, totally different substances and a special technique to produce the compounds in an effort to have a a lot wider working vary, to have rather a lot much less overheating and so forth.

“We realised that with modified compounds from the present ones, it was not doable to make a step as massive as was anticipated. So we determined to leap into the unknown! I am joking, however we determined to do one thing that’s new, and to begin to develop an entire new household of compounds.”

Lando Norris testing the 18-inch tyres, late 2019

Lando Norris testing the 18-inch tyres, late 2019

Photograph by: Pirelli

That was a serious choice and to streamline that course of the preliminary focus was on one benchmark, the medium C3 in the midst of the vary. As soon as the parameters for that compound had been established, Pirelli’s engineers might discover softer and more durable choices.

“We targeted initially on the C3, it was the primary compound that was in a type of closing form,” says Isola. “The C3 can also be the compound that we use in any respect occasions principally, it’s within the centre of the 5. So it’s the most used. From the C3 we moved on the onerous facet, for C2/C1, and on the tender facet for C4/C5.

“I consider it was a great method, and a profitable one. As I mentioned, the suggestions from drivers was constructive, in keeping with the expectation.”

A vital a part of all of the observe testing was encouraging groups to inform their drivers to push all through a stint in an effort to assist Pirelli to handle the floor overheating challenge. The drivers have been completely satisfied to oblige, and the outcomes seem to have been constructive.

“Throughout the exams we requested the drivers on quick runs and lengthy runs to push each lap, as a result of we needed to simulate a scenario the place they do not should handle the tyre. They do not should take care of the tyre, to nurse the tyre.

“We all the time requested them with full tanks or in any situation to push, push, push, to confirm the actual degradation of the tyre, and in addition which is the kind of degradation. If it’s a thermal degradation it is good, as a result of we have to have some thermal degradation, in any other case all of the compounds are the identical.

“We needed to make certain that they do not endure with floor overheating. It’s tough to evaluate this once you run with just one or two vehicles, as a result of we would have liked to check them in visitors.

“However to try this, we want additionally to have the ultimate model of the vehicles with a modified aero bundle, in any other case it is not possible. Now we have to attend till the pre-season check subsequent 12 months.”

Though formally Pirelli has till 1 December to appoint the chosen compounds to the FIA, the method will occur rather a lot sooner, primarily as a result of it has to prepared the brand new tyres for the Abu Dhabi mule automobile check in the midst of that month.

“We are going to produce the tyres, I consider fairly quickly, in in all probability a few weeks or so,” says Isola. “As a result of then we have to ship the tyres to Abu Dhabi, and logistics within the present interval is just not the simplest exercise.

“The compounds that we wish to nominate are clear. We already had inner conferences to debate that, we’ve got simply to current our conclusions to the FIA and FOM, and make certain that they agree with our method.

“After which we begin the manufacturing so the groups have the likelihood in Abu Dhabi to check the ultimate homologated model of subsequent 12 months’s product.”

That’s an necessary check, however as Isola says, the actual image will solely emerge when the tyres are run in February/March on the vehicles for which they’ve been designed.

For the sake of the present, we will solely hope that Pirelli has bought its sums proper.

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