Sergio Perez feels ‘driver safety is at risk’ with 2023 tyre regulations

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez explaining with hand motions. Canada June 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez explaining with hand motions. Canada June 2022

Sergio Perez believes the further lowering of tyre blanket temperatures next season could jeopardise driver safety in certain situations.

Formula 1 introduced lower heating limits on tyre blankets in time for this season and the arrival of the 2022 regulations, as part of the sport’s efforts to become more sustainable and use less energy.

Tyre blankets could be heated to 100°C for front tyres and 80°C on rear tyres, but the temperatures were lowered to 70°C on all four tyres and a reduction in the number of blankets the teams could use to keep their tyres warm.

The overall aim is for Formula 1 to stop using tyre blankets completely in 2024, as part of its plans to become carbon neutral – and 50°C will be the new blanket temperature limit next season.

Discussing how the sport’s new 18-inch tyres differ from their predecessors in the pre-Singapore press conference, the Red Bull driver is concerned that having a low base temperature from the tyre blankets could have knock-on effects for the safety of drivers.

“I think for me, the only concern is the warm-up,” Perez said.

“Sometimes when you’re behind the Safety Car with these low blanket temperatures that we are we running. I think already for next year, they’re trying to go even lower, which I feel like they’re putting the driver at risk.

“Because there are some situations, some scenarios, where it can become quite dangerous, you know, cold track temperatures and Safety Cars and so on.

“It can be a bit of a risk for some drivers. So I think that’s the only real concern I have with this tyres at the moment.”

Carlos Sainz is confident the drivers will be more comfortable activating the new tyres with more time spent using them, as they are still in their first season of use.

“I think it is more difficult, but only because we have less years of experience with them,” the Ferrari driver explained.

“I think we will get to a point where we will understand them better, but it’s only the first year. Every time we go to a track, it’s the first time we are with those tyres at that track. So, we are always hit with surprises for each track, what is the right window for these compounds of this year.

“But I’m convinced that with the experience that we have this year, whenever we come back next year, if Pirelli doesn’t change massively, the tyre compounds and the construction, then it will be a lot easier to hit the targets.

“I think it’s just a matter of experience with this new set of tyres.”

Pirelli will be testing 2023 tyre compounds in free practice for the upcoming Japanese and United States Grands Prix, with FP2 set to be extended by 30 minutes for the teams to run the test tyres, which Pirelli hope have been constructed in such a way that will reduce the amount of understeer the drivers currently experience.

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