The new tyre rules issued by the FIA today will have several consequences, one being a possible change to the Red Bull tactic Lewis Hamilton pointed out.
Following tyre failures and two crashes at the Azerbaijan GP because of it, F1 teams will face new restrictions and tyre pressure and temperature checks from the French GP. The new directive also forbids various practices by teams, one of which is the bendy wing tactic employed by Red Bull and brought to light by Hamilton.
Violation of these rules may result in a team being reported to the stewards. The teams have to ensure tyre pressures remain within set limits at all times, including during races. There is also the detail of delaying departure of cars after removal of tyre blankets being considered as a violation. This was what Hamilton accused Red Bull of.
“If you look at the last race, for example, we were supposed to all keep our blankets on in qualifying,” he said. “Red Bull were allowed to take theirs off. And no one else is allowed to.”
In response to the Azerbaijan GP failures, Red Bull insisted it had “adhered to Pirelli’s tyre parameters at all times”.
There will also be cold pressure checks conducted on the tyres each driver uses to set their fastest lap times. Tyres will be judged against Pirelli’s cold cooling curve. For this purpose, teams will have to give their own sealable valve covers, latest by July 12. Teams will also not be able to alter gas composition in the tyres.
The FIA will also strictly measure tyre temperatures in garages, both during qualification and the race. Any tyre which is found to be too hot must be replaced, or at least have their settings adjusted. Teams also face the risk of being reported if they heat tyres during sessions and don’t run them on their cars.
Tyre pressure checks will be done using an FIA-sealed and Pirelli-calibrated gauge, while temperature measurements will be taken using a special infra-red gun.
We will have to wait and see how these changes are implemented, and what it will mean for the sport. This is another reason to look forward to the French GP.