Formula 1 executives are contemplating the prohibition of tyre warmers beginning 2025. Earlier attempts to ban them have been unsuccessful, however, the officials are not deterred.
The consensus among F1 executives is that there will be crucial sustainability gains by eliminating the need for tyre warmers during race weekends.
Numerous global motor racing tournaments operate without tyre blankets. However, with this absence comes the risk of certain manipulations by teams to find unconventional methods of heating their tyres.
Recently, it has been reported that the DTM took center-stage due to allegations of teams utilizing sunshine to warm their tyres. This was perceived as a breach of ‘measures’ that raised tyre temperatures beyond the environment’s temperature.
Rumor mills were busy with talks about teams keeping their garage doors open and positioning tyres to benefit from direct sunlight. There was also speculation of tyres being put on grid trolleys in advance and left outside in the pitlane.
Also alleged was the use of tyre tents made from black tarpaulin by teams to serve as mini ovens to increase temperatures.
According to Isola, F1‘s demanding rule enforcement and the intricacies associated with managing tyre temperature will deter teams from attempting such ploys.
He stated, “If I look at F1, they are quite strict with regulations. In GT, where obviously regulations are not so strict, you can have any kind of invention to warm the tyre before going on track.
Mentioning past experiences, he highlighted that some methods such as hot boxes could be beneficial. But he also recalled significant discrepancies in tyre temperatures, causing chaos with one tyre heating to 100 degrees and the last one barely reaching 40 degrees.
He added, “Or you can have teams warming the tyres in the sun. But if you expose the tyres to the sun, you have also other side effects, like the UV rays. They can have an impact on the compound and not all the tyres in the set are at the same temperature or in the same conditions.”
Isola considered the partial heating of the wheels in the sun problematic, with one side getting heated while the other remains cool. He pointed out this could negatively affect car performance and noted that “We’ve seen mechanics having to rotate the tyres,” he said. “It is not good to have a part of the tyre that is overcooked and the rest of the tyre that is cold.”
Anticipating the potential total ban of tyre blanket in F1, Isola suggested that such a move would invariably deter any attempts by teams to heat their tyres beyond ambient temperatures.
When questioning the successful enforcement of such rules, Isola made clear that the nature of F1 makes it different from other divisions. He said: “We have to consider that F1 is a different level championship, ” he explained.”
“We always have a lot of conversation with the promoters in order to impose the minimum pressures, to control the camber. It’s what we do in F1,” he continued.
Insisting on the precision of regulations, Isola emphasized F1‘s superior level of scrutiny, unlike other championships: “The regulations are very precise. In other championships, you don’t have all these people. So, it’s really difficult for the promoter or the governing body to ensure that the teams are respecting the rules.”
Consequently, the F1 executives are committed to introducing rules that are applicable and practical. Isola concluded, “If you’re talking about a national championship, you have maybe 35 cars and you have two scrutineers; you cannot ask them to police the pressure of the tyres.”