Pirelli, Formula One’s sole supplier, whose contract has been renewed until 2027, is as wary as ever of the Austin circuit in America, where the bumps are taking their toll on the single-seaters.
Bumps have been appearing on the COTA track for a number of years, mainly due to the instability of the land on which the circuit is built. Since the severe flooding that hit the region in 2015, the situation has only worsened and in 2019 the organisers had no choice but to ‘scrape’ the asphalt on certain parts of the track to allow the F1 (and MotoGP) cars to run safely.
However, despite the organisers’ best efforts, the bumps were back a few months later and the MotoGP riders even threatened to go on strike over an obvious safety issue.
In 2022, therefore, major work will begin to smooth out the surface of the track once and for all, so that Formula One and other categories can be hosted in complete safety.
Pirelli warns of potential tyre overheating in Austin
The 2022 U.S. Grand Prix went off without a hitch, but Pirelli is still warning teams that tyres are likely to overheat this year due to the few bumps that remain on the COTA track, as the terrain on which the circuit is built is constantly shifting.
“Despite the resurfacing of certain sections last year, the asphalt is still quite bumpy: this causes micro-skidding in the tyres, which can lead to abnormal overheating,” explained Pirelli Managing Director Mario Isola on the eve of the US Grand Prix.
“In fact, the type of degradation that usually occurs on this track is thermal, while graining is a rather rare phenomenon. Another point is that the races in Texas always take place in the autumn, when the weather conditions are very variable, even over a short period of time. It’s easy to have alternately hot, sunny or rainy days, as well as significant temperature fluctuations.
“From the point of view of the forces exerted on the tyres, lateral forces predominate on this track, but in a well-balanced way between the two front and rear axles, and without the stresses being concentrated on a specific area of the single-seater”
In order to limit the risks associated with excessive overheating or premature tyre wear at Austin, Pirelli has therefore chosen to provide the drivers with intermediate tyres from its C2, C3 and C4 range.
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