Tyres for Formula 1
Team managers must have just about reached the hair tearing stage, trying to get the best combination of wet, dry, or intermediate tyres for the current season.
After four races, the season has been interrupted by the volcano in Iceland “blowing its top”, so it’s time for some think music.
Nethertheless, Jensen Button has been willing to take a punt on whether the track will dry, or whether it will rain again. Twice now he has put on slicks, and after a hairy first lap on them, the track has dried. At Melbourne he was making up 5 seconds a lap, which is enormous. He did a similar trick at Shanghai. But the rain set in again, so more pit stops were required, which adds to the spectacle; which is why the rules making tyre changes compulsory were introduced in the first place.
And boy, aren’t they slick at it!
The intermediate tyres apparently suffer from abraded balls of rubber stuck to the tread surface spoiling the grip on a dry road, which dragster racers are quite familiar with. But the current F1 rules require that at least two types of tyres be used in the one race. The test is “when”, and for how long.
If you want to know a bit more about the compounds used, my earlier article on “Tyre Tread Compounds” and “Our Experts on: Hot Tyres and the Grand Prix” will throw some light on the subject. This was written at the time that the powers that be decreed that tyres had to have a tread pattern, which was intended to slow them down. This no longer applies.