The issue of tyre blankets is set to be discussed by team bosses and F1 officials during a meeting of the F1 Commission taking place on Friday at the Belgian Grand Prix.
F1 tyre supplier Pirelli has been working hard to develop tyres that do not need pre-heating, with its testing programme reaching a conclusion after the British GP.
However, even though it is certain that it has made every effort to provide tires that are compatible with the latest cars, drivers and teams remain highly skeptical about the consequences of transitioning to this type of rubber.
The lack of traction from cold tires right after leaving the pits is a significant problem, which will likely eliminate undercut strategies during races.
Additionally, there have been worries that the tires may pose a risk if drivers experience extremely low traction while battling for positions following pit stops.
World champion Verstappen, who goes into the Belgian GP with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, has made it clear that he saw little upside to the switch, which is being pushed for on sustainability grounds.
“I believe it is not advisable to proceed in that direction,” he expressed prior to the F1 Commission gathering. “It is likely that individuals are unaware of the immense challenge involved in maneuvering a car with 1000 horsepower from the pits, particularly on a slightly slippery track. It is unnecessary.”
I believe that the tyre blankets do not produce a significant amount of energy. In my opinion, combining an AC unit throughout the entire paddock generates more energy.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Red Bull Racing
“I believe that the tires could potentially be adjusted to function in this way, but it would require significantly reducing the optimal temperature range. As a result, once the tire reaches the desired temperature, it would become excessively soft and the pressure would increase dramatically.”
“I cannot reword”
“I find the current racing exhilarating, both when exiting the pits and with the added excitement of having hot tires. I fail to comprehend the necessity of altering this aspect.”
The initial determination to be made at the F1 Commission will involve assessing whether the FIA and Pirelli are satisfied with the progress of unheated tyre development and agree to proceed with the proposed change.
If both sides agree that the tires are prepared, then the issue will be put to a vote, where a majority of teams must support the decision to prohibit the use of tire blankets.
It seems improbable that such a possibility would occur, as most teams are of the opinion that switching directions in F1 is not the correct move.
However, efforts to switch intermediate tyres that can be used without pre-warming is likely to get support to come in for 2024.