Pirelli fires back at Lewis Hamilton as rule change will come into effect at Imola

Lewis Hamilton has called the plans to ban tyre blankets a ‘pointless exercise’.

Tyre blankets can be seen in every garage up and down the paddock, as teams try to ensure that their drivers’ tyres are as warm as possible when fitted onto the car.

The warmer the tyres, the more grip they provide, meaning that finding the sweet spot with regards to temperature is key to a strong qualifying lap and race pace.

Tyre blankets allow drivers to exit the pits with warm tyres and therefore it will not take long for them to reach the optimum temperate.

The blankets may be removed from the sport in the near future however as Liberty Media, the FIA and Pirelli attempt to make Formula 1 more sustainable.

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Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has called this a pointless exercise, as he believes that sending drivers out on cold tyres will lead to more crashes and put their lives at risk.

He also highlighted the fact that without tyre blankets, drivers will be forced to complete more warm up laps in qualifying, meaning that they will burn more fuel and not help the sustainability battle at all.

Head of Pirelli, Mario Isola, has now address Hamilton’s concerns, claiming that there is a clear plan in place to make the gradual removal of tyre blankets a success.

“The idea to remove blankets is something that we discussed years ago and it is a common thought between the FIA, F1, teams, Pirelli and promotors to achieve carbon neutrality for 2030,” he said.

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“Any step to make our sport more sustainable is important and one of these steps is to remove blankets, to avoid using electricity to warm the tyre before we use it.

“We tested before the Christmas break some wet weather tyres, that was also out priority because last year, drivers were not happy about where they were on tyres. We found a new compound that is able to work without blankets.

“We make a comparison with the old tyre with blankets in cold conditions and in all three different circuits with three different teams, if I’m not wrong, the five drivers, the comments were positive.

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“So we are planning to remove the blankets from the wet weather tyre from Imola onwards. That has been authorised by the Formula 1 commission last Wednesday.

“The next step is and I hope we are successful this year, is to find an intermediate tyre that is able to work without the blankets. At the same time we have a development plan for slick tyres.”

A vote on the future of tyre blankets is set to be held in July, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also voicing his concerns about the safety of the plan.