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GP Week : Issue 228
Pirelli and the FIA introduced a new procedure for checking tyre pressures in the wake of the Italian Grand Prix controversy in singapore. In Monza, Lewis Hamilton's race win was cast in doubt when it was revealed his car had started with tyres below the minimum pressure. Measured on the grid just prior to the warmup lap, with the FIA summoning representatives to explain themselves post-race. The team ultimately escaped penalty by successfully arguing its case, claiming pressure had dropped because the tyres had been out of their blankets for some time and therefore lost heat. The situation drew into question the pressure checking process, with race director Charlie Whiting and Pirelli's Mario Isola meeting in Singapore to find a solution. It was agreed that, during practice and qualifying, tyre pressures would be measured as tyres are fitted to the cars while during the race they could be measured at any point after the five minute signal. That means teams will have to slightly over inflate their tyres in order to counter any pressure loss once the tyre blankets are removed but before the race starts. “We have been informed by Pirelli that their tyres may only be operated safely if the prescriptions set out in their preview document at each event are strictly followed," read a technical directive sent to teams in Singapore. “When measured, the pressure must be equal to or higher than the minimum set out in the preview. If the pressure is below the minimum requirement teams will be given the opportunity to adjust it. “Measurements may be taken from any corner of the car. “Measurements must be made with a gauge calibrated at or by Pirelli, and subsequently sealed by the FIA. “After the checks have been carried out, and any necessary adjustment made in the presence of a scrutineers, no further adjustments may be made.” Also on tyres, in Singapore it came to light that Pirelli was seeking four tyre tests as the supplier looks towards 2017, plus two post-season tests ahead of the 2016 season. A post-season test in Abu Dhabi will be voted upon by the F1 Commission later this month, along with a wet weather test at Paul Ricard. Not all teams however are keen on the idea, with a number understood to have opposed the move because of the costs involved. Instead it was suggested teams test the new ultra- soft compound tyres during opening practice in Abu Dhabi, though Pirelli argues teams have other priorities which would compromise the effectiveness of testing tyres during a race weekend. Pirelli is also seeking further testing in preparation for a move to wider tyres for 2017. Though still at the tender stage, it's expected Pirelli will win the exclusive supply contract over the only other applicant, Michelin. “It is a really complex area with the wider tyres,” explained Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery. “If they go for a wider track, it means a completely different car. “But if they don't go for a wider track, with just modifications to the current car, then that will allow a current car to be used [in testing]. “No one will have a 2017 car in March next year, so there is a very practical decision to be made. The important thing is recognition that we need to go testing, which is something that came out of the Strategy Group.” 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news pirelli under pressure