With Pirelli’s investigation into the failures suffered by Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix concluding that the way the tyres were run triggered the incidents, F1’s tyre supplier and governing body the FIA has worked on new protocols.
Amid concerns that teams may have been running tyres below the minimum pressures recommended by Pirelli, new procedures have been agreed that should stamp out the behaviour.
In a technical directive sent to teams ahead of the Paul Ricard race, the FIA reminded teams that it was their responsibility to ensure that the running pressure of tyres were above those stipulated in the prescriptions laid down by Pirelli.
However, it was accepted that there was no way to currently police the running pressures in a reliable way because tyres cannot be checked when the car is out on track.
While teams do have their own sensors and data to monitor tyre pressures, such systems are not reliable enough and the data not robust enough to be established evidence for rule breaches.
So in a bid to confirm that teams are maintaining tyre pressures in a satisfactory way, tyres will now be checked after they have been run on cars.
Sets will be selected at random from practice and qualifying sessions, while every race set will be checked after they have been used.
Tyres due to undergo testing will have seals added to ensure that teams cannot play around with the pressures prior to the checks. No re-inflation of the tyre will be allowed.
The FIA has laid out procedures for the cold pressure checks and they must fall in line with a Pirelli figure that it believes the tyres should be left at when cold.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, climbs out of his car after crashing out from the lead
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
If faulty valves are found or other problems discovered that leads to an unsatisfactory check, then a reheat check will be allowed.
The FIA makes clear that any team found to have been running tyres that are found after the race to be under the pressure laid out by Pirelli will be reported to the stewards.
Further checks with Infrared cameras are also being introduced on tyre temperatures to ensure teams are not overheating them in their blankets in a bid to get the pressures up prior to the pre-running checks.
Where previously teams only had to comply with the minimum starting pressures of tyres, now the need to pass the post-running checks means that they will not be able to use tyres consistently below Pirelli’s guidance figures.
This is especially crucial in races where tyres are run over a longer distance, so there is greater scope to play around in lowering pressures.
The new FIA checks come ahead of a new system being brought in for 2022, where F1 is introducing mandatory standard tyre pressure and temperature monitoring devices that will give the FIA and Pirelli the exact insight they need to better judge the tyre running conditions.
In a recent amendment to the 2022 technical regulations, Article 10.7.3 states: “All cars must be fitted with tyre pressure and temperature monitoring sensors which have been manufactured by an FIA designated supplier to a specification determined by the FIA.
“Wheel rims and tyre pressure and temperature sensors should be marked according to the corner colouring and labelling scheme defined in the Appendix to the Technical and Sporting Regulations.”
Although Red Bull suffered a failure in Baku, the team issued a statement on Tuesday insisting it had always followed Pirelli’s tyre parameters ‘at all times’.