There has been some discussion about whether the implementation of the new Alternative Tyre Allocation rules during the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend is a suitable step towards enhancing sustainability.
For the upcoming Hungaroring weekend, F1 has made changes to the availability of dry tyre sets for drivers. The number of sets has been decreased from 13 to 11. Additionally, teams are now required to utilize the hard, medium, and soft compounds during the three qualifying segments.
It is understood that the reduction of tyres needed for the weekend saves a total of 17 tonnes of equipment being shipped to each race.
Although the adjustments seemed to add excitement to the competition for the top starting position on Saturday, a few drivers expressed concerns regarding the restricted number of tires, which resulted in limited track activity during Friday’s practice sessions.
Lewis Hamilton, among others, believed that there was room for improvement and expressed doubts about the sustainability initiative. He specifically raised concerns about the wastage of wet tires that were never utilized.
“I believe that simply removing one or two sets of tires is insufficient when discussing sustainability,” he expressed. “Every weekend, a significant number of wet tires are discarded, without fail.”
“I cannot reword”
Pirelli has clarified that the drivers’ assertions regarding the wet tires are incorrect, as the unused wet weather tires from European races are retained for future races.
Pirelli wet tyre
Photo by: Erik Junius
“For the European races, we maintain the tires mounted on rims and we bring forward the unused tires. Therefore, we provide the teams with identical sets as those used in previous races,” stated Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1 and motorsport, in an interview with Motorsport.com.
“For events taking place abroad, the logistics become more intricate as the rims must accompany the teams, while the tires need to be transported separately due to customs regulations.”
While the situation with the flyaways is different, Isola says research is going on to try to find ways to reuse the rain tyres so that they can be brought back into action even after being removed from the rims.
He stated that the future plan is to allow the tires to be removed from the rims and then reinstalled at the upcoming event.
“Another idea that we have discussed in the past was for races where we have weather conditions that usually are sunny, like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, or Jeddah, not to fit all the tyres.
“If the tires do not fit, we can utilize them for another occasion once we implement the new procedure. Numerous concepts are being considered to minimize the wastage of wet and intermediate tires in the future.”
Isola added that work was also going on to evaluate better whether tyres that are stripped from rims can be brought back into action.
He stated that when the tires are removed from the rims, they are sent back to Didcot in the UK. There, a team of individuals thoroughly inspects each tire to determine if there is any damage to the bead.
Based on the analysis conducted during the initial races, we have identified an extremely low percentage [that cannot be utilized].
The potential for reusing tyres is also increased with wet weather tyres that are not pre-heated, as rubber that has gone through a heat cycle cannot be used again.
“We can perform this action using wet tires as they are no longer covered, and we will apply the same approach to the new version of intermediate tires without any coverings.”
If one tire in a set has been damaged and undergone a heat cycle, it is necessary to replace all four tires in order to ensure uniformity.
“This is not ideal because if you have, say, 10% of tyres that are damaged but you have to replace 40%, it makes no sense. Without blankets, you can just replace one tyre so it saves a lot.”