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Monday, September 20, 2021

How a brand new Pirelli method ought to silence F1’s largest tyre gripe

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That’s definitely the hope after the Italian firm just lately signed off on the specification of its new rubber, pending official homologation by the FIA.

The swap from the present 13-inch dimension to 18 inches could 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 automobiles, which can in flip influence how the tyres are used.

On high of that Pirelli has to observe necessities of the goal letter supplied by the FIA. And a key component of that’s addressing the perennial downside of floor overheating, the problem that usually prevents drivers from pushing exhausting all through a race stint, particularly when working in site visitors.

If profitable, as Pirelli believes, the lowered overheating can be a serious contribution to enhancing the present in 2022, together with an aero bundle that enables automobiles to observe one another carefully.

Pirelli started its intensive check programme with mule automobiles tailored for the brand new tyre dimension again in 2019, when the swap to 18-inches was scheduled for this season. The following 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.

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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 another moist check to run with Alpine at Magny-Cours in September.

The 2022 building was finalised a while in the past, and up to date slick assessments have centered on refining the compounds. The definitive variations will subsequent be examined in December, once more on mule automobiles, 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 comfortable earlier than Hungary, and we’re going to verify the development that was the newest baseline that we used in the course of the check.

“For the compounds now we have finalised the evaluation, together with Hungary. And the plan is to current our outcomes to the FIA, FOM and the groups, and likewise to match 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’d say are are fairly good. And likewise 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, that means that though steering ought to be extra direct because the tyre flexes much less, there can be a marked discount in total slip. 

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

“We needed to perceive which was the proper route. After we began with our tyre growth assessments [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 automobiles that have been totally different, giving us a sign {that a} sure sort of profile and building was in the proper route.

“So then we continued to develop this profile and building. 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 might in impact have to start out afresh.

“We mainly had two decisions,” says Isola. “To take the present compounds, and attempt to develop them additional with a view to obtain the targets. Or to start out with a very totally different method, totally different components and a special solution to produce the compounds with a view to have a a lot wider working vary, to have loads 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 huge 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 a whole new household of compounds.”

Lando Norris testing the 18-inch tyres, late 2019

Picture 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 tougher choices.

“We centered at the start on the C3, it was the primary compound that was in a form of closing form,” says Isola. “The C3 can be the compound that we use in any respect occasions mainly, it’s within the centre of the 5. So it’s the most used. From the C3 we moved on the exhausting facet, for C2/C1, and on the delicate facet for C4/C5.

“I consider it was a very good method, and a profitable one. As I stated, the suggestions from drivers was Positive, in keeping with the expectation.”

An important a part of all of the monitor testing was encouraging groups to inform their drivers to push all through a stint with a view to assist Pirelli to handle the floor overheating concern. The drivers have been comfortable to oblige, and the outcomes seem to have been Positive.

“In the course of the assessments we requested the drivers on quick runs and lengthy runs to push each lap, as a result of we wished to simulate a state of affairs the place they do not must handle the tyre. They do not must take care of the tyre, to nurse the tyre.

“We at all times requested them with full tanks or in any situation to push, push, push, to confirm the actual degradation of the tyre, and likewise 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 wished to ensure that they do not undergo with floor overheating. It’s tough to evaluate this once you run with just one or two automobiles, as a result of we wanted to check them in site visitors.

“However to try this, we want additionally to have the ultimate model of the automobiles with a modified aero bundle, in any other case it is unattainable. We’ve 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 loads 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 best exercise.

“The compounds that we need to nominate are clear. We already had inside conferences to debate that, now we have simply to current our conclusions to the FIA and FOM, and ensure 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 essential check, however as Isola says, the actual image will solely emerge when the tyres are run in February/March on the automobiles for which they’ve been designed.

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

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