Pirelli has launched an investigation to identify what is causing the strange deformation of its Formula 1 tyres witnessed in Belgian Grand Prix qualifying and whether pre-race action is required.
Slow motion footage of F1 cars exiting the final chicane at Spa-Francorchamps showed standing waves spreading across the tread of rear tyres, something that has not been seen before.
The extra vibrations these waves caused triggered the damage to Williams driver Lance Stroll’s rear wing that cost him a second run in Q1.
Pirelli’s F1 racing manager Mario Isola said he had never seen an F1 tyre behave in such a way and his company was collaborating with teams to investigate.
“We are looking at what they can be or which is the type of stress on the tyre,” he told Autosport.
“At the moment I don’t have a lot of information because we are working together with the teams to better understand this effect.
“It seems that we have this at the exit of the Bus Stop, and exit of Turn 1 [La Source], so slow speed corners in traction.
“We have to better understand it. It could be an effect of the grip with the torque.
“Obviously the grip this year is much higher and the tyre is wider, so it could be a deformation of the contact patch and the torque that generates these vibrations.”
When asked if there could be enough concern to advise teams to make changes to either set-up or treatment before the race, Isola said: “This is why we are interested to better understand why we generate this vibration and what are the possible consequences.
“What we have asked the teams is can we work together a bit to better understand which is the dimension of this vibration, the extension in time and the construction.
“And when we have something more, probably tomorrow morning, then we can take a decision
“So far it is difficult to say if we are obliged to take any action.”
Williams technical chief officer Paddy Lowe said he had not seen tyres deform in such a way before, but was at a loss to explain what was going on.
“We have often seen before a kind of standing wave in the sidewall, but in this case, we’re seeing a standing wave on the tread with sort of a flat threepenny bit shape to it,” he said.
“I’ve never seen that before. It’s a very high amount of energy in that.”