raymondu999 wrote:smikle, alelanza - I don't remember specifics, but it was mentioned by several team engineers in post-race quotes and the like. Downforce reduces wear, not degradation. When you have bundles of downforce, you go through corners quicker, putting more energy through them. Part of that energy would be the friction between the surface and tyres, which goes to heat the tyre quicker and causing heat deg quicker.
I think I was slightly wrong about the timing though - most teams started doing that post-Silverstone, not post-Barcelona. In terms of specific races I seem to remember it being mentioned in Suzuka and Hungary in post quali or race comments.
Post Barcelona there was an engineer (not in a post-race quote) who said that it looked as if the Red Bull had too much downforce in the race, which caused them massive degradation because of the heat they were generating through Turn 3 and Turn 9. Similar comments were made post-Silverstone, when Red Bull were initially quicker than Ferrari through Sector 2 (with Copse, Maggotts, Becketts) and as stints wore on - that advantage would switch to Ferrari's side, and the last 10 or so laps from the race saw Fernando pulling consistently 8 tenths a sector for every time they did sector 2.
Hungaroring - don't quite remember specifics of what was said. Suzuka - I believe it was a McLaren or Renault engineer who said that Red Bull took out up to 7 tenths of performance off Sector 1 (Esses) so that they didn't fry their tyres. Post quali or post race.
Sounds like a lot of speculation and assumptions to me. I doubt any teams do what you initially suggested, at least not for tyre wear reasons.