Martin Brundle warns how tyre blanket ban could ruin F1 qualifying sessions

Jamie Woodhouse
F1 Tyres in tyre blankets. Austin, USA. October, 2022

Tyres in tyre blankets. Austin, USA. October, 2022

F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes the slick-tyre gambles which paid off for some and punished others in Canada GP qualifying will cease to be without tyre blankets.

Already as of Monaco a full wet Pirelli tyre compound has been introduced which is not pre-heated in tyre blankets, and from 2024 Formula 1 intends on removing blankets from the tyre equation completely as the series continues on its path to a greener future.

Drivers and team personnel are certainly not fully onboard with the plan, safety concerns being the main sticking point, but for Brundle it is strategy worries.

He would refer to a thrilling Q2 session in Canada, where gaps between rain meant there was a very brief window for drivers to fit the dry tyres and get a lap in. For Williams’ Alex Albon it paid off handsomely as he topped the session, while Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc were high-profile names to suffer elimination as they missed it.

Take the tyre blankets away though, which Brundle is not convinced are worse for the environment than adding extra fuel for tyre warm-up laps, then the former F1 driver suspects the current stars would not dare to deliver a lap on cold dry tyres in such conditions.

“The Montreal circuit usually throws up some special challenges, not least because it’s slippery, bumpy, fast in places, and lined with walls and high kerbs. And the weather can be challenging,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports F1 column.

“A wet, albeit temporarily almost dry, qualifying served up some thrills and surprises for a nicely scrambled grid. There was a two-lap window to fit dry tyres in Q2 which the likes of Alex Albon in his Williams and a few of the other usual suspects anticipated well, but Sergio Perez in his Red Bull and Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari simply did not. recommends

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“It was a good reminder for those who want to stop tyre warmers and use F1 cars to heat them up instead, that such moments will disappear if they are banned. Nobody will venture out on cold slicks in anything like those conditions, and nor will they in a race either until it’s certain they can stay on the track and generate heat rather than smash the cars to pieces.

“There are better ways to be environmentally friendly rather than fuelling an F1 car for a few extra laps to heat the tyres every run rather than directly applying a very efficient blanket system which heats specifically the tyre and wheel.”

The rain moved away for race day at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, though it made little difference for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who turned pole into victory, his sixth of the season, 41st of his career to equal the legendary three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna, and Red Bull’s 100th grand prix win.

Verstappen extended his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to 69 points over team-mate Sergio Perez.