FIA Agrees to Pirelli Request for Tyre Tread Depth Reduction for Three Grand Prix


Pirelli's tyre treads for the Spanish, French and British Grand Prix will be 0.4mm thinner
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The FIA have agreed to a request from Pirelli Motorsport to alter their tyres for the races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Circuit Paul Ricard and Silverstone, with the aim to avoid possible overheating issues on what will be three newly resurfaced tracks.

Pirelli had concerns over overheating of their compounds during the pre-season tests in Spain, and  as a result they requested to bring tyres with a tread 0.4mm thinner than in other events, which they insist will have no impact on performance.

The change will also have an impact on the weight of the F1 cars, with around a one kilogram reduction per set, which teams will have to ensure is covered in other areas to ensure the minimum weight is met.

Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola, says they have previously tested with the thinner treads and he is confident that this will solve the issue of overheating while not having any consequences on the racing.

“We made a request to the FIA to have a slightly different tread thickness for three races,” Isola is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “That’s Barcelona, Silverstone and Paul Ricard.

“The reason for this request is that in general the new tarmac has a lot of grip, low wear, and low degradation.  With a lot of grip, the lap time is improving a lot. We saw the lap times in Barcelona during the pre-season test was three seconds quicker than last year.

“But the point is that we keep a lot of rubber on the tyre, because with low wear, the tread is there, we are not wearing the tyre. And this means we have high temperatures in the compound.

“So to try to reduce a little bit the temperature we asked for a small reduction in the tread thickness to reduce a little bit the temperature. We tested the solution already last year, and in terms of performance or other consequences, they are almost transparent.

“Obviously the reason we stayed on the standard tyre for this year was in normal circumstances you wear the tyre, and if you don’t have enough thickness, you wear the tyre too quickly.”