After the Italian Grand Prix, Pirelli has released a warning to Formula 1 teams that they cannot allow tyre pressures to drop below the prescribed minimum limit once the car leaves the pits. Normally, the tyre pressures are measured and shared with Pirelli engineers using the car’s telemetry system as they leave the pitlane. Any anomalies are then scrutinised by the FIA.
There is a suspicion that teams have found a way to meet the minimum tyre pressure guidelines as the cars leave the pit lane but operate on the racetrack with slightly lower pressures to aid the car’s performance. Pirelli said that if the suspicion is found to be correct, then the concerned team will be penalised.
Pirelli’s Mario Isola told the teams, “Our prescriptions about minimum starting pressures are based on the assumption that running pressures are higher than starting ones. These are the historical values we have seen and we, therefore, need you to respect this in order to operate the tyres safely. If we find, during any session, that your stabilised pressures are equal to or lower than the starting pressures, we will give higher starting pressures limit to your team, as agreed with FIA.”
One method to aid the pressure drop on the track is to use tyre warmers on very high temperatures and as the tyres cool down a bit on track, the tyre pressure will also come down. Pirelli has emphasised the fact that the temperature numbers are being watched by saying, “I also want to remind you to respect the maximum temperature for blankets as we will ask FIA to random check the values.”
It is believed the teams are trying to manipulate the tyre pressure guidelines using both setup and operational tactics.