Pirelli Predicts Less Tire Wear in China

Following complaints coming from drivers and team officials regarding the tire marbles on the Sepang race track during last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, F1's sole tire supplier Pirelli confirmed, via a press statement, that it is trying to address the problem as soon as possible.

Pirelli is looking at ways to reduce these deposits in future,” stated Pirelli in the statement, while insisting that the chunks of rubber that fall off the tires and onto the track do not pose any safety risks. “Rubber on the circuit is an inevitable by-product of degradation and the ‘marbles’ left on the circuit pose no danger to competitors or spectators.”

The faster tire wear compared to previous years can lead to strips of rubber being deposited on the track, which vary in size but are generally the shape and consistency of toffees, weighing between 10 and 20 grams on average,” added the Italian maker, trying to explain the way its 2011-spec rubber reacts during a race weekend.

These strips are pliable when warm but become more rigid when they cool down, just like toffee. These rubber ‘marbles’ have always existed in Formula One, but the characteristics of Pirelli’s new compounds mean that the pieces are on average larger and softer than the hard and round ‘marbles’ that have been seen at grands prix in the past.

A Formula One tire, which weighs approximately eight and a half kilograms when new, will lose around a kilogram and a half as it wears over the course of a stint. With an increased number of pit stops, more rubber will be laid down on the track. This phenomenon is not new in Formula One, but it is most pronounced at circuits where there is a high degree of tire wear, like Malaysia.”

As far as the Chinese Grand Prix is concerned however, Pirelli predicts a lower level of tire wear on the Shanghai track by approximately 30 percent as compared to Malaysia– not only because of the track characteristics, but also due to the different atmospheric conditions – which will also lead to fewer pit stops.

As in Australia, all teams will be provided with an extra set of hard tires for the Friday practice running. Tire allocation will remain the same throughout the weekend, namely prime hard tires and option soft tires.
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