The potential reason behind Lewis Hamilton’s F1 tyre blanket ban fears

Oliver Harden
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on track at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton on track at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Formula 1 commentator Peter Windsor has suggested that Lewis Hamilton’s negative reaction to a potential ban on tyre blankets is driven by a lack of trust in Pirelli.

As part of an effort to improve the sport’s sustainability, F1 is known to be considering dropping tyre warmers for the 2024 season with a final vote due to take place between FOM, governing body the FIA and the 10 teams in the aftermath of July’s British Grand Prix.

Pirelli, who became the sport’s sole tyre supplier in 2011, have been preparing for the potential change by developing tyres that do not need to be pre-warmed before hitting the track, but the reaction among drivers has been mixed.

In February, seven-time World Champion Hamilton told media – including’s Thomas Maher – that the move would be a “pointless exercise” and raised concerns about safety.

Asked by a viewer during a recent YouTube stream if he was surprised by Hamilton’s stance, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Windsor strongly implied that a lack of faith in Pirelli’s tyres is at the root of his concerns.

He said: “I know what the answer to this question is, but I’m not quite sure how I should frame it. I need to think about how I’m going to do this.

“If I said to you that we were in a tyre war at the moment and Lewis was not racing on Pirellis, but on Michelins or Bridgestones or something like that, and he was asked that question, I think he’d say: ‘Bring it on!’

“Does that answer your question?

“I think, not to put too fine a point on it, Lewis wouldn’t say this because like everybody in Formula 1 he’s very grateful to Pirelli for the job they do, and a lot of the time they do a very, very good job. recommends

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“But to do the job they do they actually, in the minds of some Formula 1 drivers – I’m not sure the rookies because they don’t know any better – do the job by producing quite difficult tyres that don’t offer a lot of feel to the driver and go off quite quickly just when you don’t want them to go off.

“Lewis is a purist as a racing driver in my view.

“I’m not sure he would describe himself that way but he is – he’s a pure racing driver. He’s a touch-and-feel driver.

“And to a touch-and-feel driver – whether it be Lewis, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Jackie Stewart, Tazio Nuvolari, Bernd Rosemeyer – if you give them a tyre that’s quite difficult to touch and feel and just sort of goes off a cliff at some point, they’re not going to enjoy that aspect of their art.

“I think what Lewis is saying is: ‘It’s difficult enough as it is with the tyres in temperature! What would it be like without?’

“I think that’s what he’s saying.

“I don’t think he’s saying, ‘I’m going to better on cold tyres than Yuki Tsunoda’ – because he will be, but to what end?

“I’m not putting words in Lewis’s mouth, I don’t want to be misquoted, I’m just giving my opinion of what a driver like Lewis or Charles [Leclerc] or Max [Verstappen] would think about this.

“In the same way that they’re all good in the wet, if you asked them right now would you like the grand prix to be wet or dry, they’d all say dry because it’s actually quite difficult to get everything right, in the current era in which we are, in the wet.

“If it was another era – if it was the ’90s, for example – I think Lewis would be quite happy to have no tyre warmers.”