We might think that tyres are no more than just black round objects that support the weight of a car. Nothing more significant. However, there’s more to them than that. More so in a Formula 1 car. Where the aerodynamists and the engine boffins can find tenths of a second, the tyre engineers can wring out whole seconds. This is apparently because there’s so much that can go right and so much that can go wrong with F1 tyres. Selecting the best tyre for a weekend is one of those things that can give a driver and his engineers sleepless nights over the course of a race weekend. Why so? ‘Coz, the factors involved in choosing the tyres are innumerable. They are, to give you a few: track temperature, type of track surface, track characteristics (yes, track charactersitics mean something more than type of track surface), grip level of track, weight distribution of the car, driving style, race strategy. As if these are not sufficient, comes the continuosly varying conditions over the weekend (on Friday it might be sunny with track temperatures hovering around 35 degrees and suddenly by Saturday Qualifying due to strong wind or rain it might well come down to higher 20s or less than 20 degrees. So what? You ask? The compound that was chosen to be the best for Friday conditions (say, hard compound) will most probably grain in the cooler temperatures of Saturday. This makes the front-end of the car more prone to understeer.
So what’s that tyre compound, graining and all? These things along with the above mentioned factors are what we are going to discuss in F1 TECHNOLOGY :: TYRE (Part2) though that understeer thing will come a little later under a different heading.
Before you ask, F1 TECHNOLOGY :: ENGINE (Part 2) is coming, for sure. I just thought that I would’ve every other area of an F1 car brushed up before discussing each one of them in detail. Like this idea?