A meeting between the members of the F1 Commission was held today in London. Among the topics on the agenda was the thorny issue relating to the gradual disposal of electric blankets, or the methods that should lead to the banning of devices used to heat tires before their use.
The reasons are part of the cost reduction process started last year as well as the series of measures requested by Formula 1 to reduce the impact of emissions.
As always happens in these cases, at the moment the deployment sees the minor teams in favor of the measure while the top teams are still reluctant to the idea of having to give up a technical tool that helps the drivers and the engineers themselves a lot.
The topic was already addressed in 2019, reaching an agreement in principle to progressively reduce the use of electric blankets through a reduction in the temperature of use.
Currently the teams are raising the front tires to 100 degrees and the rear tires to 80, values that should drop to 70 degrees in 2022, 50 in 2023 until the final ban. During the current season, however, there was a request from Formula 1, aimed at accelerating the timing of retirement, an instance that not all teams have welcomed favorably.
Limited tire warmers from 2022?
Currently, each team has around thirty complete sets of tire warmers at their disposal, plus at least five backup sets, and all teams keep their tires at constant temperature throughout the weekend.
One of the proposals examined at today’s meeting envisages reducing the number of tire warmers available for each single-seater to just six sets, to be used exclusively for slick tire trains. Indeed, the proposal envisages banning the heating of wet and intermediate tires.
Most of the teams have already purchased the new sets of electric blankets for the new 18 ”tires that will be used starting next year, an investment of around 250,000 euros as the cost per set varies from 6 to 7,000 euros. But if their use were reduced, there would still be a saving in terms of transport and a lower use of energy, the true target of Formula 1 on the sustainability front.
The discussion is open, but the idea of a gradual reduction should please everyone. An immediate abolition of the tire warmers could also affect the objectives requested of Pirelli with the new generation of tires, given that the Milanese manufacturer has designed 18 ”tires (which will be used in 2022) taking into account the procedure for heating the tires.
Leaving the pits with cold tires leads to an increase in the starting pressure of about 10psi, with all the consequences of the case, starting with the decrease in the footprint on the ground.
These technical problems discouraged a drastic decision, thus leaving room for the teams and Pirelli itself to face any problems related to a ‘cold’ start over time. Formula 1 has been using tire warmers since 1985, the year in which Williams first experimented with the possibility of heating tires before entering the track.
Calendar and Sprint Qualifying
The meeting held today also addressed other open points. The draft of the Formula 1 2022 calendar has been presented, which, as rumors have emerged in recent weeks, will consist of 23 Grands Prix. Final approval will take place next Friday within the FIA World Council.
The Commission was presented with a report on the first two events with the Sprint-Qualifying format held at Silverstone and Monza. The report collected positive reactions from a good number of insiders, but for the final evaluation, the third and final seasonal event scheduled for the Brazilian GP will be finalized.