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Why Pirelli’s F1 tires continued to explode at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Like my Tinder inbox, I expect a warning signal in Baku.that is Tight street circuit It’s ridiculously fast, unlike Monaco, and small errors can turn into big smashes.

As F1 The only tire supplier, Pirelli faces criticism of the tires offered in the past. Lewis Hamilton in 2020 Won the British Grand Prix with three wheels After a tire broke on the final lap, Max Verstappen retired from a flat tire during the race at Imola. In 2021, the post-test driver was also unsatisfied with the compound.Hamilton continued saying These are “three kilograms heavier and one second worse per lap,” and it’s safe to say that their concerns will not be underestimated after Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

AP image

Baku’s Pit Straight is one of the fastest track sections throughout the F1 calendar.And that was Nico Rosberg, who won the race in 2016 (then dishonestly called the “Europe” Grand Prix). Truck guide Really, really dangerous.

Regarding the area just before the pit entrance, Rosberg said: You are. So if something breaks here, it’s over, you’re gone. “

“So this is one of the scariest places I’ve ever driven an F1 car. Going there just feels ridiculously wrong.” But anyway, you have to blend it in and keep going. Must be. “

The two drivers who could never do that in yesterday’s race were Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen. Both of them suffered a catastrophic tire failure on the pit straight and, fortunately, struck another barrier and crashed violently before reaching the pit entrance wall.

Stroll described it as a “puncture” in a post-crash radio message, but subsequent footage showed that Pirelli had been eroded from the inner sidewalls, as if the belt was still holding the inside. Despite being visible, the carcass appeared to be completely torn along the shoulders of the tires.

Starting with hard compound tires at the time, Stroll experienced the longest stint of any other driver.Before the race, Pirelli has an expected stint life At least 40 lapsIt looked as if an Aston Martin car had a breakdown just around the 30th lap around Baku.

Given that it’s a completely different track, it was a bit strange for Pirelli to bring the exact same type of tires to Baku as Monaco. Monaco is the shortest lap on the low power, low speed and F1 calendar. Baku is one of the longest, high-power, high-speed circuits, with a huge 1.5-mile straight and both crashes.

In 2019, Pirelli introduced harder tires on the truck, but in 2021 it adopted C5, C4 and C3 compounds. And since soft tires, especially at high speeds and heavy loads, have shorter distances than hard tires, it’s easy to think that Pirelli’s stint predictions have been calculated when looking at the stint explosion.

The stroll crash was like crossing the pit entrance, so most of the pit lanes were closed until the safety car was recovered. That is, the driver couldn’t get the fresh rubber. — Except for a few behind the grid, they were able to take full advantage of the few chances at the end of the safety car and they continued to run in the same compound. Basically they just saw an explosion.

However, the team believed they were in good control of the tires. By lap 46, the AWS analytic graphics that split F1’s opinion were Sergio Perez, who was running second at the time and defending Hamilton. Said that the statistics had dropped to 10% of his rear tires analyzed.

Lando Norris said he felt a vibration, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. At that point he was running 37 laps in a hard compound.

But it wasn’t Norris’s tires. The race leader, Max Verstappen, basically recreated the Stroll case.

Exiting the final corner again, at a very fast part of the truck, his left rear gave up and flew Verstappen’s car to a concrete barrier. Fortunately, Max Verstappen’s drivers were very malicious and had to undergo a compulsory medical examination, but neither driver was harmed in a high-G force accident.

After the safety car was called, Red Bull’s pit wall sent a radio to race control and F1 race director Michael Mashi wasn’t warned that Verstappen’s tires would burst, so the race needed to be flagged red. I told you that there is.

Message from Jonathan Wheatley, Red Bull Sports Director, broadcast on F1: “Michael, I know you’re busy, but we had zero warnings about the failure.: Red Bull and everyone Consider the opportunity to change tires. ”

As Sergio Perez revealed after the race, there may have been a hidden motive for the team to push up the red flag. On the brink of failure But if multiple cars can suffer the same problem at the same time on the final lap of the race, that is not surprising due to city safety concerns.

In any case, the red flag was waved. Everyone changed to soft tires and faced a restart two-lap showdown. I never know what happened. But strangely, Stroll had a flat tire when he was about to start lap 30, and Max Verstappen had a flat tire when he was about to start lap 35.

By the time the car pitted, Norris and Fernando Alonso had 41 laps on hard tires. Wear wasn’t the only cause of what happened to Stroll and Verstappen, as some other drivers were running more than 37 laps. And it’s strange that the incident happened in such a similar place.

One possible explanation is just one of Pirelli. I go together, Both cars ran on the rubble. Of course, it’s possible that Verstappen did the same, finding that Stroll turned something over. Obviously nothing is visible on the onboard shot, but it’s hard to tell if there are carbon fiber microshards.

Pirelli completed the race, but Hamilton, who was not very dignified, defended himself by saying that he had severely damaged the tires.

That is, something may be the cause. And by the time Hamilton’s tires were replaced, he had run at least once in the pit lane under Verstappen’s debris and above the safety car.

Hamilton, who tried to take the lead from Sergio Perez in a standing restart, accidentally reactivated the brake mode aimed at warming.In essence Disable rear wheel brakes, It took him off course on Turn 1 and died last behind Haas’s two cars. Of course, the spill area tends to be where the debris eventually ends up.

Fortunately, you may not have to worry about this anymore. Or rather, not a little. Sochi and Abu Dhabi are the only other tracks that will use the softest compound.

Sochi is a high-speed quasi-street circuit, and drivers already tend to evade barriers and brake. Abu Dhabi is the only circuit that can compete with Baku in 90 degree corners and again has a fairly high power section. In both cases, the road surface temperature is usually high due to the local weather.

Pirelli hasn’t made a final decision on what happened and has brought back the tires for testing, so the official line won’t be known until later. When else this happensYou would say that the tires were damaged by some invisible debris that the team couldn’t detect until it was too late.

Whether the car needs to soar at 200 mph with tires, Huge number of sensors They have live telemetry, but it is not possible to determine if one of them will check out completely on Sunday. This is a very important question. Due to the impact of the new coronavirus, Pirelli is testing new tires in less time with 2021 tires and usually tries to provide the team with as much information as possible to protect them.

Working on Strict budget restrictions, The team is not keen on a major crash. Apart from points and podiums, Aston Martin and Red Bull need to completely repair the car, including the possibility of chassis changes. The last truly massive catastrophic clash between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas in Imola cost Mercedes more than $ 1 million. Rebudget for upgrades during the season To their car.Not to mention the Bottas car Not really Since then it has worked the same way.

As a result, the team will be keen to prosecute Pirelli. Now, when F1 reopens at Paul Ricard two weeks later, be prepared for Netflix-appropriate action across the paddock.

At least we can all agree: Well done, Baku.

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