F1 has been toying with the idea of banning tire warmers for some time since it introduced 18-inch wheels. The removal of this element, originally scheduled for 2021, had to be delayed until the new regulation came into force, this 2022.
The championship had already decided to withdraw the blankets gradually and not all at once, as initially commented.
Currently, teams can heat their tires to 70 degrees Celsius, up from 100 last year, and that maximum level will drop to 50 in 2023 , before being banned outright in 2024 .
In FP2 of the last United States Grand Prix, Pirelli carried out a test with the compounds of the 2023 campaign, and the teams only heated them up to 50º. According to Max Verstappen, current world champion, “it was not pleasant”
In statements prior to the Mexican Grand Prix that takes place this weekend, the Red Bull Racing driver was against the ban on heaters, and predicts great chaos on the track if it takes place.
“Yeah, it wasn’t nice,” Verstappen said of the Austin tire test. “I drove with them (the tires) at 50 degrees, and I was about to spin in the same pit lane ,” he denounced.
“It is true that I was also riding the harder compound, but I think there are more reasons. If we are going to have the heaters still on, why don’t we use them to the maximum?”, he asked.
“Either you use the ‘butt’ blankets or you don’t, but there’s no middle ground. I think we’re going to have a lot of accidents. I know that, compared to what we have right now. But yeah, it’s tough.”
“Also, the tire degradation is going to be completely different because the tires are so cold. In the first couple of laps it slides a lot.”
“Tire pressures are going to skyrocket, so they’re going to degrade a lot more. And right now it’s something that I’m excited about, and a lot of drivers are saying the same thing, so we’re going to have to find a solution to that.”
“Austin is still a track where you can easily warm up the tires because of the high speed of the corners. But if you go to a street circuit like Monaco, it’s going to cost more.
“I think it will take at least half a race to get the tires up to temperature.”
In FP2 in Mexico, the Austin operation will be repeated , and Pirelli will put the 2023 compounds on the track. Verstappen foresees “a nice skidding show”.
On the other hand, the Dutchman also valued that by banning the heaters , overcut strategies would have more potential , as is already the case in the GT.
“You have a lot less power [in a GT],” added the Red Bull driver. “I think these [F1] cars are also very heavy. I mean, I’ve tried it and it’s really almost impossible to drive.
“I drive a GT3 without heaters, but these cars are much less stubborn and it’s much easier to drive than these types of [F1] cars, because if you go over a little bit of power you can have a very, very big crash.
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