I’ve at all times favored the technical points of racing and felt that understanding the engineering side would work in my favour. Certain sufficient, I managed to beat drivers who had been most likely extra gifted than me as a result of I understood higher how the automobile works. For me, this was at all times as necessary because the driving expertise.
In all probability the years that I discovered essentially the most in my racing profession had been in 2011-12, after I was creating the Pirelli tyres for System 1. We used the unraced Toyota chassis, then in 2012 the Lotus. It was the very best college, driving good F1 automobiles, studying the intricacies of tyres and having the engineers there to trade concepts. In System E now you do round 2000km a yr, so I did virtually 5 seasons price of testing! It was very helpful within the subsequent years of my profession and gave me numerous insights I want I’d had after I began in F1.
We had been utilizing 20 units per day – I feel at some point at Monza I used 26 units and drove round 1000km – and these included tyres with very completely different configurations. We even tried tyres that had been already cambered, which I didn’t know existed.
As an alternative of being utterly symmetrical, the interior facet had a smaller radius. Then there have been completely different thicknesses of partitions, completely different compounds and development. We tried a number of combos to see which tyres blistered or grained, and which tyres didn’t, throughout circuits with various levels of floor roughness, and a few of them put extra power into the tyres than others.
Finally, it wasn’t as much as me to determine the tyres that obtained carried forwards. Tyres which can be softer usually degrade sooner and lose lap time extra rapidly than more durable tyres, and there’s a crossover level the place the more durable tyres are sooner. However many instances we tried a tyre the place the degradation was really higher; it was softer, sooner and lasted longer. However this tyre was most likely discarded from the batch since you wanted a tyre that matched F1’s temporary.
It needed to maneuver away from what we’d had throughout my 2010 season on the Bridgestone, which was a really conservative, steady tyre. We weren’t trying to discover the very best tyre; it was extra about placing them in a window and giving F1 the likelihood to decide on which of them they needed to have.
Picture by: Pirelli
Di Grassi spent two years creating Pirelli rubber earlier than becoming a member of Audi in LMP1
Tyres are among the many most necessary issues on a racecar and, should you make a nasty alternative or if the correct one isn’t obtainable, your efficiency will probably be compromised. In LMP1 they had been essential as a result of we had a free alternative.
After I joined Audi in 2013, Michelin would give us numerous choices together with an evening and day tyre for Le Mans. Probably the most attention-grabbing tyre that I raced was a rain compound, however with none grooves! In some conditions at Le Mans, it was higher to double-stint and alter tyres, and different instances we had been quadruple-stinting, so we needed to make powerful choices. A very good really feel for the tyres was undoubtedly a bonus.
With the Michelin you’d even compromise generally the power you placed on acceleration to cut back stress on the tyre and hold them in a sure window
Nonetheless now it’s useful to know the methods you want for producing or managing put on. However the Hankook we use in System E could be very steady, so it’s exhausting to overheat the tyres such as you did with the Michelins we had earlier than.
The distinction between a driver being very easy or not is sort of negligible, however with the Michelin that wasn’t the case. You’d even compromise generally the power you placed on acceleration to cut back stress on the tyre and hold them in a sure window. A tyre that’s much less steady, more durable to modify on or preserve means the variations between set-ups and driving types extrapolate.
The subsequent product for Season 11  I’ve been informed goes to be grippier, and that ought to enable us to place extra energy down. Presently you may’t apply full throttle in a zero to 100km/h acceleration as a result of that solely ends in wheelspin. Then hopefully additionally there will probably be extra of a administration course of with the tyre which can create one other aspect of problem and will probably be good for the spectacle.
Picture by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images
Will the subsequent technology of Hankooks enable skilled drivers to make use of extra of their tyre experience?