With Pirelli’s investigation into the failures suffered by Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijani Grand Prix concluding that the way the tires were used triggered the incidents, the F1 tire supplier and the governing body of the FIA have been working on new protocols.
Amid concerns that teams may have used tires below the minimum pressures recommended by Pirelli, new procedures have been agreed that should eliminate this behavior.
In a technical directive sent to teams ahead of the Paul Ricard race, the FIA reminded teams that it was their responsibility to ensure that the tire pressure was higher than those stipulated in the prescriptions established by Pirelli.
However, it was accepted that there is currently no way to reliably control the operating pressures, as the tires cannot be checked while the car is on the track.
Although teams have their own sensors and data to monitor tire pressure, such systems are not reliable enough and the data is not strong enough to provide established evidence of rule violations.
Thus, in order to confirm that the teams maintain the tire pressure in a satisfactory manner, the tires will now be checked after driving on cars.
The sets will be selected at random from the practice and qualifying sessions, while each race set will be checked after being used.
Tires due for testing will have seals added to ensure teams cannot play with pressures prior to testing. No re-inflation of the tire will be authorized.
The FIA has set procedures for cold pressure checks and they should match a Pirelli figure that tires should be left cold.
Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen exits car after lead crash
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If faulty valves are found or other problems discovered which lead to an unsatisfactory control, then a reheat control will be permitted.
The FIA makes it clear that any team which has used tires which are after the race under the pressure defined by Pirelli will be reported to the stewards.
Other checks with infrared cameras are also introduced on the temperature of the tires to ensure that the teams do not overheat them in their covers in an attempt to increase the pressure before the pre-race checks.
Whereas previously teams were only required to adhere to minimum tire starting pressures, the need to pass post-race checks now means that they will not be able to use tires consistently below Pirelli guideline values.
This is especially crucial in races where the tires are used over a longer distance, so there is more leeway to lower the pressures.
The new FIA checks precede a new system rolled out for 2022, where F1 introduces mandatory standard tire pressure and temperature monitors that will give the FIA and Pirelli the exact information they need to better evaluate the operating conditions of the tires.
In a recent amendment to technical regulations 2022, Article 10.7.3 states: “All cars must be fitted with sensors for monitoring the pressure and temperature of the tires which have been manufactured by a supplier appointed by the FIA according to a specification determined by the FIA.
“The rims and the tire pressure and temperature sensors must be marked according to the coloring and labeling scheme for the corners defined in the appendix to the Technical and Sporting Regulations.”
Although Red Bull suffered a setback in Baku, the team issued a statement on Tuesday insisting that they always followed the parameters of Pirelli tires “at all times”.