Mercedes would welcome tighter tyre checking procedure

Mercedes has welcomed the idea of a push to establish a firm tyre checking protocol in Formula 1, following the post-race controversy involving Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes would welcome tighter tyre checking procedure
Pirelli tyres for Mercedes AMG F1
Pirelli tyres for Mercedes AMG F1
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Pirelli tyres for Mercedes AMG F1
(L to R): Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director with Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director

The FIA stewards were asked to investigate whether or not Mercedes had broken the rules at the Italian Grand Prix when Hamilton's left rear tyre was found to be below the minimum pressure recommended by Pirelli shortly before the start of the race.

In the end, it was deemed that the team had operated within the rules because it was shown that when the tyres were fitted to the car they were above the limit.

The pressures had only dropped as the result of the rubber cooling while the tyre blankets were disconnected.

In the stewards' statement it was suggested that "the tyre manufacturer and the FIA hold further meetings to provide clear guidance to the teams on measurement protocol."

Good news

The idea of establishing a better protocol comes because there is no established system for when the tyres should be measured.

Mercedes and Pirelli had worked on the idea of the tyres being measured when they were fitted to the cars and heated from tyre blankets, while the FIA checks that found an issue took place just a few minutes before the start of the race when the tyres had began to cool.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes motorsport boss, said: “You check the tyre pressures when you put them on the car.

“It is about defining the procedure when those pressures are being checked in the future, so it is the same for everybody.”

Cable chaos

Wolff said it did not make sense to ensure the tyres where heated for the whole period before the start of the race, because at some point the blankets needed to be unplugged.

“If you wouldn’t disconnect the tyres from the generator, you would need four generators behind every car,” he said. “There would be cables all over the place.

“So the normal procedure is you keep the tyres warm when you put them on the car.”

Further investigation

It is likely that Mercedes will conduct its own investigation in to the circumstances surrounding what happened – and in particular why there was such a pressure difference between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's cars.

“We don’t know why there was a discrepancy,” he said. “At the end of the day it can be performance costly if you have one tyre that is a different pressure from the others.”

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