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30 Jun 2013

Pirelli have been the topic of huge conversation and debate this season, with the teams placing increasing scrutiny on the tyre manufacturer and leveling the blame on them for all manner of issues.  The failures seen today differ from the ones we have seen before, with the tyre exploding rather than delaminating.  The upshot of this is that Pirelli unable to make changes to the construction of the tyre without unanimous consensus from the teams, has instead changed the bonding process for the tread platform.

In previous races we have seen that when the tyres have got cut or damaged the tread platform strips off (often in spectacular fashion), but as the rear tyres have a steel band running through them it enables the driver to return to the pits with the carcase of the tyre intact.

With the tread platform now adhered to the carcass of the tyre in a more restricted capacity, should a cut or damage occur the tread won't simply lift off the carcass of the tyre but instead stay attached, heating the tyre as the plaform moves around.  The integrity of the tyre is compromised by the heat and as the platform refuses to strip away it takes the carcass of the tyre with it.  (Pirelli's change in bonding process is like sticking a plaster over a problem, the dominoes are just falling in a different direction)

What we have seen teams do in the past is run outside of the reccommended parameters set by Pirelli.  Camber and Tyre pressure is something the teams will always try to find advantages from and has caught out the likes of Red Bull in the past (Spa)

The quick fix for Pirelli will be to return to the bonding process used before Silverstone which allowed drivers sustaining cuts/damage to their tyres to return to the pits with their cars unscathed.  The long fix is something that was debated during #TyreGate and that's the problem of no in-season testing.  Changing the construction will lead to an advantage swinging in one teams favour, something I think we can ill afford at this stage in the Championship.


  1. Do you know how the steel belt itself is constructed?

  2. Great post as always Matt.

    It'll be interesting to see what the solution is, I can't see how all of the teams will ever agree to something as someone will always benefit more, but safety is the most important thing here.

  3. Again, great explanation for the technically inclined F1 fan.
    However, all the talk about Pirelli has obscured the other problem with current F1 tires that will continue to affect F1 for years to come: the inability to race in the rain (as in anything more than a drizzle). Consider the number of GPs in recent years where rain meant that qualifying or the race had to be delayed/red flagged/run under a safety car.

    1. You need to see the bend at the Silverstone track at ground level yourself to appropriate the circumstances, I have and there is a 2/3cm step in the concrete, at that speed and taking it hard the edge is sharp and will cut a tire under high cornering load. But the key to this is why now, there have been a number of other F1 races over this bend without any apparent tire problems, no smoke without fire I say. Think Pirelli need to look carefully at previous tire construction and go back to basics, what worked before and do it again looking at steel use in tire construction to provide a stronger more resilient formula.

  4. I don't know much about GP2/3, but couldn't you have got the causality the wrong way round here? What is it about Barcelona, Bahrain and Silverstone that mean they hold races there? If it's anything to do with the demands on the car, it's far more likely to be that inherent characteristic of the circuit than debris...

  5. Pirelli seem to be a scapegoat for everyone's mishaps this season!

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  7. I think there have been various other F1 races over this curve without any evident tire issues, no smoke without flame I say. Think Pirelli need to turn deliberately toward past tire development and retreat to essentials, what worked before and do it again taking a gander at steel use in tire development to give a stronger more flexible equation. I would like to say Thanks for sharing such a nice article here.
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