F1 sole tyre supplier Pirelli is speeding up its development of a device and method which it can monitor tyre pressures live with. Its motorsport director Paul Hembery said the company wants to debut the system in the following race.
Rumours have been swirling in the paddock for weeks that some teams – including Mercedes and Red Bull – are able to counterplot the minimum tyre pressures required by Pirelli.
After tyre blow-ups in recent years Pirelli introduced minimum tyre pressures in last year’s Italian GP. The company gives a guideline and absolute minimum value for every single track. However, it can only be measured before the race starts on the grid. It is currently not possible to control it during races.
Pirelli intended to develop a measurement device for next year, but the company has fast-tracked that as it wants to introduce it as soon as at the next weekend’s Monaco GP.
"This is something we were working on for next year," added Paul Hembery to Sky Sport.
"It is coming a little early now but it’s essential from our point of view."
Teams use sensors to measure the pressures during the whole race, but those devices can differ. The tyre supplier had to introduce a standard sensor. However, even a standard device could not guarantee a trouble-free measurement as pressures vary constantly and cases like safety car or virtual safety cars can alter the values dramatically. Hence, it remains to be seen when a reading will be considered as illegal, and how that would result in a penalty.
Tyre pressure has a big effect on lap time. Some teams are thought to use tricky solutions to play around with the values in a bid to gain grip and so valuable lap time.
Some suggested that Mercedes and Red Bull introduced double chambered wheel rims to let out pressure after it is measured. McLaren required a clarification from the FIA which stated that such solution would be illegal.