Should I keep tires at Max PSI
Not all air is the same
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was able to keep his victory at the Italian Grand Prix despite the tire pressure being too low before the start. The excitement surrounding the Mercedes driver wasn't the only headlines related to Pirelli over the Monza weekend. Much more important: the decisions of the stewards were inconsistent.
Wednesday, September 2nd: Pirelli tightened the requirements for the teams before the start of the weekend. The tire manufacturer reduces the maximum wheel camber by half a degree, the minimum tire pressure is to be increased by five PSI at the front and four PSI at the rear. So the flank and the shoulders of the tires should be relieved, while the tread is more stressed.
The specifications are a combination of the adjustments to the special requirements of the high-speed track in Monza and the damage at the Belgian GP in Spa. The Italians explain Sebastian Vettel's blowout with damage from parts on the asphalt. There were a total of 63 cuts, while an average of only 1.2 occurred at the previous events.
Thursday, September 3: Lewis Hamilton criticizes the new specifications. "Higher pressures are the wrong way. Two PSI, I think, but not that much. The wear will increase, the grip will decrease. The tires are not built for this kind of pressure. That could develop into a disaster," says the world champion on the day before the first exit in Monza.
Jenson Button is split: "Pirelli has always tried hard to ensure safety. It is their right to impose extreme regulations. On the other hand, they are pretty scary because we've never driven like this. As racing drivers, none of us like limits . We want to do what we want to be as fast as possible. " Nico Hülkenberg does not expect any problems: "We have confidence in Pirelli. I think that the measures introduced will ensure more security for Monza."
Friday, September 4th: Pirelli changes the guidelines following complaints from the teams. One PSI less than the day before is required at the front, one and a half at the back. Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, praises the tire supplier and calls on drivers to stop public criticism. Meanwhile, the argument continues in the background.
According to information from Auto Motor and Sport Vettel repeats the allegations in a one-hour crisis meeting with Pirelli and receives support from Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, like the team responsible for Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, have also appeared at Ecclestone.
Lauda criticizes the fact that the information about the cause of the blown tires was only released two weeks after the race in Spa. Pirelli then promises to pass the findings on to teams and drivers more quickly. The counterclaim includes more data on the ever faster cars and tire tests during the season. "If the teams haven't got it this time, they'll have to look for another supplier from 2017," says Motorsport Director Paul Hembery.
After qualifying for the GP2 junior series, Mitch Evans and Sergio Canamasas will be excluded from the ranking. When examining their vehicles, the technical delegates found that the tire pressures on both cars were below the prescribed minimum.
Saturday 5th September: Pirelli warns the teams after information from Motorsport.com to cheat in writing before. The tire manufacturer's engineers assumed that the pressure would increase after exiting the pit lane. The checked pressure when exiting the pit lane is calculated on the basis of this assumption.
Chief Engineer Mario Isola warns that it is a safety risk if the pressure on the track drops: "If we find during a session that the stabilized pressure is equal to or lower than the initial pressure, the FIA will approve a higher initial pressure for their team pretend. " Therefore, the pressure should not only be checked when driving out of the box but at any time on the track.
A variant to bring about the desired loss of pressure: extremely heated tire covers. Isola announces that the FIA will also measure the temperatures. "I fully understand that the teams have to find performance, but we also have to guarantee that the tires are working properly," says Isola. "They are trying to find a loophole in the regulations and do something that is allowed because it is not forbidden. "
The tire covers are a problem at Lotus: The rain during the night made numerous specimens unusable. There were three left per car. Ferrari as well as the direct world championship competitors Sauber and Toro Rosso jumped in without further ado and borrowed a few of their blankets.
Sunday, September 6th: Hembery takes up the topic of the specifications even before the start at Sky Sports. "There can be penalties. You have to stick to them," says the Briton: "If you don't stick to them, you gain performance." His engineers had "mostly" found misconduct over the weekend.
At 3:04 p.m., the FIA technical delegates announced that Mercedes and Ferrari had checked the pressure and temperature of the tread on the left rear tires before the start. At Scuderia, the specifications were met, the Silver Arrows did not meet the specifications. Hamilton was missing 0.3 PSI from the prescribed minimum, with Rosberg it was even 1.1 PSI. Jo Bauer refers the matter to the stewards responsible for penalties, who at 3:07 p.m. call the Mercedes officials to report at 4.15 p.m.
Mercedes reacts immediately: Hammer time for the world champion. "Don't ask questions, put it into practice," commands Peter Bonnington: "We'll explain it later." When Hamilton complains about the stress generated in the final laps after crossing the finish line, the race engineer chokes him off. The goal of the command post: to get as much lead as possible over the second-placed Ferrari driver Vettel. Mercedes fears a time penalty for the insufficient air pressure.
"To be honest, we don't understand," says chief technology officer Paddy Lowe after Hamilton won by 25.043 seconds: "We'll go and explain it. I just know that we have put our pressure on the Pirelli engineer. He was completely happy with it. "
Williams demanded disqualification
His counterpart at Williams, Rob Smedley, steps in. "This is a technical breach and threatens safety. I suspect there will be a pretty heavy penalty," he says: "We measure the wings and stay within half a millimeter of the regulations. If we exceed them and get caught, then we would be disqualified. "
Meanwhile, Mercedes supervisory board chairman Niki Lauda criticizes RTL the unclear guidelines. "Now the question is where the 1.1 and 0.3 come from. Was Nico's tire longer without a blanket and therefore cold? The argument will go there. I say the tire pressure has to be right when you're driving and not statically in And that's not clearly defined in the rules, "says the Austrian:" We didn't try in any way to play. I can guarantee that. The question will be how to interpret the gray areas. "
Even the world champion speaks out: "If it was 0.3, then it was 0.3. The bottom line was that that had no effect on the car. This small difference does not matter. In order to make a difference, the difference would have to be be significantly larger, let's say 0.5 or 1.0. I'm sure that Pirelli will also prove that this makes no difference, "says Hamilton at Sky Sports.
Hembery disagrees with Hamilton
Hembery contradicts: "If we set up a limit, you cannot ignore it. That leads to scenarios in which it becomes difficult for the front left tire," he says and justified the requirements again: "There is a task for us with regard to this potential integrity issues and it brings a performance benefit. It's a package and there's a reason it's there. "
Meanwhile, Chief Technology Officer Lowe defends his team in front of the stewards on the basis of the data collected by the FIA. The Pirelli engineer assigned to Mercedes is also summoned. At 5.48 p.m., the stewards announce their decision: Hamilton's acquittal. The commissioners do not question that the tire pressure was lower than prescribed, but attribute this to the electric blankets that were cooling down on the grid. The print was correct during assembly.
The fact that Canamasas and Evans were punished with exclusion from the ranking for a comparable offense is apparently irrelevant. Pirelli is once again in a double light because the commissioners from the world association and tire manufacturers have asked for more precise information about the time the pressure was measured. The point in time should be set.
Mercedes' motorsport director Toto Wolff put the lid on on Sunday evening. "I can rule out that we would be the ones who are trying to get an advantage in an absolutely unscientific and uncontrollable way," said the Austrian and stated that we had acted exactly according to Pirelli's instructions: "The pressures were well above the minimum because Safety is important to us. For some reason - maybe because the tires cooled down - the car had different pressures on one tire. It was a tiny discrepancy. "
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