How tyre improvement improves a racing driver

How tyre improvement improves a racing driver


I’ve at all times preferred the technical facets of racing and felt that understanding the engineering facet would work in my favour. Positive sufficient, I managed to beat drivers who had been in all probability extra gifted than me as a result of I understood higher how the automobile works. For me, this was at all times as vital because the driving expertise.

In all probability the years that I realized essentially the most in my racing profession had been in 2011-12, once I was creating the Pirelli tyres for System 1. We used the unraced Toyota chassis, then in 2012 the Lotus. It was one of the best college, driving good F1 vehicles, studying the intricacies of tyres and having the engineers there to change concepts. In System E now you do round 2000km a yr, so I did virtually 5 seasons price of testing! It was very helpful within the subsequent years of my profession and gave me loads of insights I want I’d had once I began in F1.

We had been utilizing 20 units per day – I believe at some point at Monza I used 26 units and drove round 1000km – and these included tyres with very completely different configurations. We even tried tyres that had been already cambered, which I didn’t know existed.

As a substitute of being fully symmetrical, the inner aspect had a smaller radius. Then there have been completely different thicknesses of partitions, completely different compounds and development. We tried a lot of mixtures to see which tyres blistered or grained, and which tyres didn’t, throughout circuits with various levels of floor roughness, and a few of them put extra power into the tyres than others.

In the end, it wasn’t as much as me to determine the tyres that obtained carried forwards. Tyres which are softer usually degrade quicker and lose lap time extra rapidly than more durable tyres, and there’s a crossover level the place the more durable tyres are quicker. However many occasions we tried a tyre the place the degradation was truly higher; it was softer, quicker and lasted longer. However this tyre was in all probability discarded from the batch since you wanted a tyre that matched F1’s transient.

It wished to maneuver away from what we’d had throughout my 2010 season on the Bridgestone, which was a really conservative, secure tyre. We weren’t seeking to discover one of the best tyre; it was extra about placing them in a window and giving F1 the likelihood to decide on which of them they wished to have.

Di Grassi spent two years developing Pirelli rubber before joining Audi in LMP1

Photograph by: Pirelli

Di Grassi spent two years creating Pirelli rubber earlier than becoming a member of Audi in LMP1

Tyres are among the many most vital issues on a racecar and, should you make a foul alternative or if the proper one isn’t obtainable, your efficiency can be compromised. In LMP1 they had been essential as a result of we had a free alternative.

After I joined Audi in 2013, Michelin would give us loads of choices together with an evening and day tyre for Le Mans. Probably the most attention-grabbing tyre that I raced was a rain compound, however with none grooves! In some conditions at Le Mans, it was higher to double-stint and alter tyres, and different occasions we had been quadruple-stinting, so we needed to make robust choices. A great really feel for the tyres was positively a bonus.

With the Michelin you’d even compromise typically the power you placed on acceleration to scale back stress on the tyre and hold them in a sure window

Nonetheless now it’s useful to know the methods you want for producing or managing put on. However the Hankook we use in System E could be very secure, so it’s arduous to overheat the tyres such as you did with the Michelins we had earlier than.

The distinction between a driver being very easy or not is nearly negligible, however with the Michelin that wasn’t the case. You’d even compromise typically the power you placed on acceleration to scale back stress on the tyre and hold them in a sure window. A tyre that’s much less secure, more durable to modify on or preserve means the variations between set-ups and driving types extrapolate.

The subsequent product for Season 11 (2025) I’ve been advised goes to be grippier, and that ought to enable us to place extra energy down. Presently you possibly can’t apply full throttle in a zero to 100km/h acceleration as a result of that solely ends in wheelspin. Then hopefully additionally there can be extra of a administration course of with the tyre which is able to create one other factor of problem and can be good for the spectacle.

Will the next generation of Hankooks allow experienced drivers to use more of their tyre expertise?

Photograph by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Photos

Will the subsequent era of Hankooks enable skilled drivers to make use of extra of their tyre experience?

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