Friday, 15 April 2011

Pirelli seek to reduce F1 toffee-like tyre debris

SHANGHAI: Formula One's new sole supplier Pirelli has said it will seek to reduce the amount of toffee-like debris shed by its tyres during races after some drivers expressed concern.

The Italian company added in a statement at the Chinese Grand Prix on Thursday that the slippery 'marbles' left behind on the track posed no danger for competitors or spectators.

"The faster tyre 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," Pirelli said.

"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."

Pirelli has replaced Bridgestone as sole supplier this season with tyres that degrade far quicker than the previous Japanese rubber.

The company says this is by design, leading to increased overtaking opportunities and many more pitstops.

The downside has been much more residue deposited on the circuit, with the marbles catching out some drivers -- Renault's Russian Vitaly Petrov suggesting in particular that they might have triggered his crash in Malaysia last weekend.

Pirelli said the marbling phenomenon was most pronounced at circuits with high tyre wear like Malaysia.

According to their calculations a new F1 tyre, weighing about 8.5 kilos, will lose about 1.5 kilos over the course of a racing stint.

"The rubber `marbles' on the track are a natural consequence of the increased degradation that has led to more exciting races," said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

"All that rubber has to go somewhere, just as it has always done in the past. Having said that, we're here to serve the teams' best interests and we're looking at ways of reducing some of the deposits in the future.

"But that's not going to change our fundamental philosophy: we want to give racing back to the racers."

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