“Dangerous, pointless” ban on tyre warmers will cause a crash

Lewis Hamilton has strongly criticised Formula 1’s plan to ban the use of tyre warmers next season.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is due to introduce new wet weather tyres which do not require blankets at the sixth race this season. A proposal to ban teams from using blankets with all types of tyre will be put to a vote of teams later this year.

Some drivers have already tested Pirelli’s development tyres for next year which are designed to work without blankets. Hamilton was among them, but he is dead set against a ban on blankets, and said a crash is inevitable if it goes ahead.

“I think it’s dangerous,” he told media including RaceFans at the Bahrain Internationtal Circuit today. “I’ve tested the ‘no-blankets’ and yeah, there’s going to be an incident at some stage. So in a safety factor, I think it’s the wrong decision.”

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While Hamilton has been a strong advocate of reducing F1’s carbon footprint, he rejected the argument for banning tyre warmers on environmental grounds to reduce energy use.

“You have to drive multiple laps to get the tyres to work,” he said. “The whole argument that taking away the blankets is going more sustainable, a bit more green, in actual fact we just use more fuel to get to temperature, the tyres.”

However he stressed his biggest concern over a ban on tyre warms is the potential safety implications.

“The more concern, even just when you go out in the cars, you’re skating around, it’s very twitchy. If someone else who is on tyres that are working, you could easily collide with them. It’s a pointless exercise.”

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Another driver who has tested the prototype tyres, Charles Leclerc, believes the full wet weather tyres are up to the task but the slicks aren’t ready yet.

“I did a test and probably they [full wets] are a good tyre without the blankets. The others, I didn’t test all of them. Obviously the intermediates were a bit more difficult so for now I don’t think we are exactly ready.

“For the slicks, too, I think there’s still a little bit of work, especially on the warm-up part of it in the first few laps, it’s still quite tricky. But I think the extreme are quite a good tyre without them actually.”

Max Verstappen, who hasn’t tested the new tyres yet, said it could be a problem if they are used for the first time on a race day.

“I have no clue what to expect, to be honest,” he said. “I haven’t tried the wet tyres so I hope they work without blankets. I don’t know at the moment.

“I think it’s better that maybe we can get to test them maybe in practice before actually throwing them into the race. I hope it’s not going to rain for the race only.”

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