Pirelli to incinerate 1800 sets of tyres post Australian GP cancellation
Pirelli, the official tyre partner for Formula 1, is forced to torch the entire consignment of tyres after the cancellation of the 2020 Australian Grand Prix. The reason behind this is that F1 tyres cannot be reused once mounted on the rims as unmounting them makes it unsafe to do so. When the tyres are shipped outside Europe for any race event the teams take the responsibility of freighting them and Pirelli mounts them on the rims as soon as they arrive at the destination, and once the tyres are mounted on the rim there is no going back. At no point do any of the teams have unmounted tyres in their possession. What goes into F1 race tyres is a closely guarded secret and tyre manufacturers are careful to not leave any tyres lying around. Each tyre is barcodes and accounted for.
At the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, Pirelli brought the same compound tyres as featured last year at the fast Albert Park street circuit that comprised of the hard C2, the medium C3 and the soft C4. Pirelli has made some improvements for better traction and braking. The performance of these tyres was already proven when they appeared to help the cars be faster than their predecessors at the pre-testing season held at Barcelona last month.
In a recent interview, Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director said that when a tyre is stripped from the rim there is added stress to the bead which is why they are not confident enough about fitting it again on the rims as the forces that act on F1 tyres are huge. He also said that this is the biggest wastage of tyres in the sport as in a normal dry flyaway race weekend they end up scrapping about 500 sets of tyres. But this time the number amounts to 1800 as they had already finished mounting the tyres and covering them with tyre blankets three days prior to the race. If the race was in Europe they could have kept them fitted and easily transported it through trucks for usage. Adding to this he also said that Pirelli is working closely with FIA and teams to find better ways for transporting tyres to and from flyaway races so that they can avoid this sort of a loss from arising again. Fortunately, the tyres kept in Bahrain and Vietnam can be kept in storage till new dates are announced.
Generally, the unused tyres from European races are transported by road without being removed from rims as they can still be stored and used for subsequent events but this time the loss is huge and they will have to crush the tyres to fit in the containers for sea-freight and once they are shipped back to the UK they will have to recycle them at a cement factory in Didcot, where these tyres are burnt at high temperature. Pirelli aims to create energy and not pollution by this incineration process.