The change has long been anticipated as an addition to the 2024 championship’s sustainability initiative, which calls for the complete elimination of the use of tyre blankets.
However, lowering the temperature of the tyre blanket alone hasn’t been well received by the drivers and has gained attention recently, especially after the recent US Grand Prix, where the first of two in-event 2023 tyre tests was conducted before the second took place in Mexico last weekend.
Max Verstappen, the world champion for Red Bull, predicted “a lot of crashes” as a result of the decision, and Lando Norris, the driver for McLaren, predicted “everyone’s going to shunt their car at some point.”
Pirelli conducted an experiment for the Mexico test where the tyres were heated in blankets at 70°C but only for two hours rather than the usual three, which would have remained the operation for the 50°C limit being brought in, in response to the driver’s comments following the Austin test.
According to Pirelli, this modification actually consumed less energy overall and allayed the worries of the drivers at the same time.
Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola then explained to Motorsport.com that while for 2024 “the plan is still not to have a blanket, for next year the investigation of our analysis said that if you warm the tyres at 70°C for two hours and not three hours, you save more energy than the blankets at 50°C for three hours”.
“Because this is the period of blanket that is using a lot more energy – it’s like the oven at home,” he continued.
“So, if you switch it on, you have a first phase where you go up to the required temperature and then it’s stabilised.
“But to keep the temperature at the level you want, you need to use energy. So, that’s the point.”
Isola presented Pirelli’s findings to the drivers in their Mexico City GP post-FP2 regular briefing.
He said that the drivers agreed they would prefer F1 to adopt the approach of heating the tyres hotter for a shorter period.
“For me it’s a sensible solution,” said Isola. “As I said, we also save more energy.
“Now, we have to analyse all the data [from the heating approach ahead of the Mexico test] because clearly the test was [only last] Friday and we didn’t have a lot of time to analyse the data.”
“The [rest of the] plan is to find the five compounds we want to homologate for 2023.
“[Then] bring the final version of the tyres to Abu Dhabi for the post-season test, so the drivers can test the final range of compounds.
“And to propose a full 2023 strategy of [tyre blanket heating] two hours at 70°C. That’s the plan for the moment.”