Pirelli have confirmed that 1800 tyres were scrapped after the cancellation of the Australian GP, but they did have a new purpose.
Throwing away the unused tyres after flyaway races is nothing new for Pirelli – they often have to scrap over 500 wet-weather tyres if there is no need for them, but the cancelled Australian Grand Prix left them with much more stock than usual to dispose of.
But the tyres had a new purpose after they were sent to the UK to be used for fuel.
“We crush the tyres in order to fit them in fewer containers, and send them back to the UK where we recycle them in a cement factory close to Didcot,” Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola told Motorsport.com.
“We burn them at high temperature, and we create energy, but not pollution.
“We are investigating many possible ways for recycling F1 tyres, but at the moment this is the way we recycle them after all our analysis.”
Once the tyres have been mounted onto the rims they cannot be reused due to possible damage when they are taken off.
1800 sets of unmounted tyres have already been delivered to Bahrain and Vietnam – the nations were set to host rounds two and three of the season respectively, but even though those events are now postponed, Pirelli will leave the tyres there to use if the races are rescheduled.
“The tyres for Bahrain and Vietnam are already there, but it’s not a problem. We use sea freight for most of the tyres, and they are in thermal controlled containers,” said Isola.
“It’s like having them in a warehouse, it doesn’t make any difference for them. If there is any change in the calendar we can use them.
“The only problem is for tyres that are already fitted, because in that case those tyres are going to be stripped.
“At the moment the limitation is that when we strip a tyre from the rim, we give a stress to the bead, and then obviously we are not confident to fit the tyre again, because of the level of forces acting on these tyres is huge. So we don’t want to take any risk.
“For the European events we can carry them over, because if we don’t use them we keep them fitted, and we load our trucks with tyres and rims.
“In the future, and considering that we will have a sole supplier and standard design for the rims, we will try to work together in order to find a way to fit and strip tyres and re-use them. But we need to make sure that we are not taking any risk.”