The cost cutting plans: tyre warmers ban

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Originally set for a 2009 ban, tyre warmers will be outlawed in F1 from 2010
Originally set for a 2009 ban, tyre warmers will be outlawed in F1 from 2010

One of the surprising changes to be announced by the FIA and FOTA was the ban on tyre warmers from the beginning of 2010.

These were originally going to be banned for 2009, but the change was dropped following objections from drivers. Why are they now slated to be banned again?

The FIA clearly feels (and FOTA presumably agrees) that tyre warmers are an unnecessary expense that add nothing to the Formula 1 spectacle. Last time we did a poll on this two-thirds of F1 Fanatic readers were against a ban on tyre warmers. But I agree with the FIA on this one.

“Another Senna situation”?

Few if any other major motor racing series use tyre warmers, which are used to pre-heat tyres before they are put on an F1 car to ensure optimum grip from the moment the driver puts his foot on the accelerator.

It’s exactly a year to the day since David Coulthard reacted to his first test without tyre warmers as “another Senna situation.” He warned that cold tyres would lead to more crashes.

But against the dire safety warnings it must be remembered that tyre warmers were not brought in for safety reasons when they were introduced in the mid-1980s. They were brought in to improve performance by reducing the amount of time it took drivers to get their tyres up to temperature. And it seems practically every other racing series copes well enough without them.

Will it save money?

It?s hard to imagine how great the cost savings of banning tyre warmers would be. However the thermal imaging camera used at some F1 rounds this year showed the pre-heated tyres going onto cars during pit stops were hotter than the tyres coming off the car. That much heating must consume an awful lot of energy.

The FIA will also have to take great care in how it frames the regulation banning tyre warmers to guard against workaround.

Otherwise, I?m all in favour of the tyre warmers ban. It will place a greater emphasis on the drivers? skill, it will save money (however little) and I?m sure the safety concerns can be addressed.

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27 comments on “The cost cutting plans: tyre warmers ban”

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  1. I’ve said many times that they should ban carbon brakes while there at it, this would increase the overtaking under braking possibilities, and reduce costs. I beleive the IRL/CART went back to using steel brakes many years ago.

  2. The thing is that these cars have such a small operating window in terms of tire temperature. We saw clear examples of it this year, when on some occasions the ferraris looked like my nan wearing flippers in the middle of a wet field…are the stewards going to take this into account when a car on a hotlap gets heldup by a slower (cold tires) car?

    It will however make the starts more exciting and err… dangerous.

  3. This would really test drivers like Massa and Hamilton :) So, it all comes to little more talent now… not just speed!

  4. Banning carbon brakes would kind of be stupid, since no steel brake can cope with the heat and friction generated by an F1 car. You’d have tons of fade, plenty of shattered rotors, and a few crashed cars.

  5. I think banning tyre warmers is just a little sideshow compared to the money that could actually be saved by the teams and FIA/FOM during a race.
    I’d like to know whether Bridgestone are making tyres which are actually good enough to get warm enough purely by a couple of laps round a circuit or if the teams really aren’t feeling safe unless they have seen the tyres get to the right temperature using the warmers first.
    Shouldn’t the FIA be making sure the tyres are going to be safe enough first? Or maybe Max doesn’t regulate the sport anymore?

  6. Ideally I would probably prefer tyre warmers to stay, but if Bridgestone and the teams manage to overcome the issues regarding getting tyres up to temperature quick enough then it should work.

    Although other motorsport series may cope without tyre warmers we must remember that over the years both F1 tyres and cars have evolved with tyre warmers as a key part of the tech. If tyre warmers had been banned for the current cars and tyres then I would have thought that we would have big differences with regard to lap times and safety would be an issue. But with the 2010 tyres and cars designed knowing that tyre warmers won’t be available the difference in speed shouldn’t be as great.

  7. Personally I’m thinking if a car crashes it will cost the team more to repair / create new parts than the tyre warmers will.

    I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure if it proves to have hindered the sport or deemed to dangerous they’ll bring them back?

    Also: Who is the tire manufacturer for next year.

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