A typical Formula One race involves a lot of moving pieces. One such piece is the supply of tires. Pirelli has been at the forefront of delivering and mounting thousands of tires on each racing weekend for years. In a recent interview with Motorsport.com, the tire manufacturer said that it had to get rid of 1,800 tires following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.
According to Mario Isola, Pirelli’s motorsport boss, the team finished mounting all tires on 12, March 2020 in preparation for the Grand Prix. They were then forced to dismount everything once the event was canceled.
One would wonder why they had to scrap that many tires. Why not just keep them and reuse them in the next race? According to Isola, it’s not that simple. Pirelli dismounts all its tires for transportation whenever races are being done outside of Europe. After effectively dismounting them, they become too dangerous for reuse. For European racing events, tires are normally transported all the way. Trucks are loaded with both tires and rims in place.
Once a tire is stripped from the rim, the bead experiences some form of stress. The level of force acting on the tire is normally huge, making it unfit for use. Isola added that this also reduces the confidence they have in the tire’s ability to perform again.
Fortunately, the 1,800 tires that were scrapped were not just discarded nor thrown away. Pirelli crushed them to save space and then shipped them to the U.K. They were recycled and used as cement in a factory.
The number may look big, but according to Pirelli, the team scraps up to 560 Pirelli tires on an ordinary race weekend if it does not rain. This is, especially when it comes to tires specifically designed for the wet season.
Isola said that the company will try and look for a sole supplier in the future. The supplier will provide standard designs for the rims to allow them to reuse tires once they are stripped off. For now, the most important thing is to make sure that they are not taking any risks.