Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pirelli remains true to form

Pirelli, true to form in being very proactive in their return to the sport has made another call for changes. Their lastest proposal is a change in the tire regulations to reduce the waste that is generated by having to destroy unused hard compound race tires.

The proposal from Motorsport Director, Paul Hembrey to eliminate tire hoarding and not have extra unused hard sets was simple:Invert the allocation to six soft sets and five hard sets. After first free practice, take away one of the hard sets, so there were four hard sets. Then if everything played out as it has in 2011, teams did qualifying and the race with four sets of the soft tyre and then two of the hard (two of the other hard sets being used in other practices). Teams did not accept this proposal, but the drivers support the idea and Pirelli is ready to bypass it all and go straight to the FIA to impose a change.

Pirelli is very much in the right to ask for a rules change in a sport where cost reduction has been king and in a sport where they are pushing for hybrid technology, smaller capacity engines, lessening the sport's carbon footprint and so on. It seems nonsensical that Pirelli produces tires, brings them to the race, mounts the tires, and destroys unused tires after the race. Hembrey has been strong and succinct in his statements. "Clearly if we do nothing it is slightly absurd, if I am perfectly honest, to go ahead another year and just carry tyres around the world we know we are not going to use."

With the amount of technology, simulation work, supercomputing power I got an idea that puts added dimension and pressure to the teams. Just as Pirelli submits what tire compounds they are bringing to the race weeks in advance, teams should be required to preselect compounds for the race on similar notification schedule. However, teams can choose what their compound allocation was for those races. For example, Team A can choose to have five soft sets and five hard sets, Team B can choose seven soft sets and three hard sets. This way, teams can plan their qualication strategy, eliminate tire hoarding, Pirelli reduces waste as it produces tires that have been specifically requested by the teams.


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