Alpine has stated their stand on the recent directives issued by the FIA, stating that they are conflicted on F1 teams playing tricks with tyre pressures.
It also asserted that tyres will now be subjected to more routine checks. This will be done in order to make sure the pressure is above prescribed levels.
Alpine Executive Director Marcin Budkowski has praised the FIA for providing clarity on the issue. Speaking to motorsport.com, he shared his thoughts on the same.
“Certainly it was important to get to the bottom of it, because it’s a safety critical matter,” he said.
“The reaction of increasing the rear pressures, and the conclusion, seem to indicate it’s a failure of the tyre. The reaction of the FIA really is actually not a significant change in the operating procedures, it’s a lot more clarity and a lot more tightening of the operational procedures.
“Whether that suggests that some people were taking some freedoms with operational procedures, that’s a step I won’t make, because I don’t know. But if that’s the case, it’s quite worrying, because it’s a safety critical matter.
“In general there are tighter procedures and checks that have been imposed. It’s not fundamentally different from what was in place. So obviously, we welcome the fact that it’s going to be checked thoroughly, because that’s something you don’t want to play with.
If Pirelli gives a minimum prescription, there’s a reason for it. And if it’s not respected, then it can lead to failures,” he explained.
Navigating the new rules
The FIA also addressed the issue of teams like Red Bull removing tyre blankets early during qualifying. This allowed their tyre pressures to drop to favourable levels for drivers to race with on track.
The new rule states that blankets can only be removed immediately before the car leaves the garage. Pitlane traffic will be the only excuse for a delay in said removal. Teams get a 30-second window for it.
“I think there’s different things that are being done,” Budkowski said.
“And it’s not necessarily to go around the pressure prescriptions. You manage your tyre temperatures going into the session, you manage the balance of temperature between the front axle and the rear axle.
“Sometimes playing with blankets temperatures or early removal is just getting the best balance front to rear.
“But the way the TD is written, it seems that it could have been abused to lower the pressures, and therefore the FIA is becoming stricter on it,” he concluded.