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Controlling tyre temps


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#1 Peter Perfect

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 21:03

As a fan of Button I've followed his trials and tribulations with tyre heating over the past few years with confusion. Some drivers over-heat and some (like Button) tend to under-heat the tyres and I've seen many suggestions as to what the issue is - driving style, too much downforce, too little downforce, braking, ...

Can anyone help as to why any of these make a difference to tyre temps? As far as I understand it's all about the movement of the rubber on the carcass. Working the rubber harder (e.g. by throwing the car around) heats the tyres more but obviously has an effect on wear, while being more gentle results in less wear but lower temps. Button's been struggling with this problem for years compared to his teammates and has mentioned a few times that he just can't replicate how his teammates drive. Last weekend he changed his brake material to allow him to be more aggressive but it resulted in him having less feel. Is this a good direction for him to go or is there really nothing he can do?

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#2 gruntguru

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 22:54

In my opinion he is fortunate. On many occasions his tendency to run the tyres cooler and reduce wear rates has worked in his favour. He has more options available to him than a driver who has the opposite problem.

#3 GreenMachine

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 23:42

I agree with you GG, with the proviso that he still turns in competitive lap times (ie can get enough heat into the tyres).

I have wondered about this too. It seems to me that it must be about transient loads (assuming similar lap times) - rate of steering input, brake/accelerator application. Understeer or oversteer will affect one end more than the other, and wheelspin will obviously affect the rears. A driver who is 'smooth', who likes a balanced car, will therefore put less stress on the tyres. The narrower operating band for the current tyres, and their (apparent) greater sensitivity to track temperatures, means that a driver who can read, and then control, his tyre temperatures is greatly advantaged - assuming that his team have set the car up properly for the prevailing conditions. The variables have not changed, it is just their management has become much more difficult.

Scarbs has just done an article on the affect of brake heat on tyre temperature, and what Maccas are doing to control that - it seems to be an interesting way of 'tuning' tyre temperature. I noticed in the overhead view of the Ferrari pitstops in Spain, two mechanics doing something near the driver, and wonder if they are perhaps doing the same thing (apparently the changes can only be made during a pitstop or it would be 'driver controlled aero').

Edited by GreenMachine, 15 May 2012 - 23:48.


#4 Peter Perfect

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 18:03

I agree with you GG, with the proviso that he still turns in competitive lap times (ie can get enough heat into the tyres).

I have wondered about this too. It seems to me that it must be about transient loads (assuming similar lap times) - rate of steering input, brake/accelerator application. Understeer or oversteer will affect one end more than the other, and wheelspin will obviously affect the rears. A driver who is 'smooth', who likes a balanced car, will therefore put less stress on the tyres. The narrower operating band for the current tyres, and their (apparent) greater sensitivity to track temperatures, means that a driver who can read, and then control, his tyre temperatures is greatly advantaged - assuming that his team have set the car up properly for the prevailing conditions. The variables have not changed, it is just their management has become much more difficult.

Scarbs has just done an article on the affect of brake heat on tyre temperature, and what Maccas are doing to control that - it seems to be an interesting way of 'tuning' tyre temperature. I noticed in the overhead view of the Ferrari pitstops in Spain, two mechanics doing something near the driver, and wonder if they are perhaps doing the same thing (apparently the changes can only be made during a pitstop or it would be 'driver controlled aero').


I must admit I haven't been to Scarbs' site for a while. A very interesting article! Thanks for the tip.

I assumed Button switched brake materials to put more mechanical stress on the tyres under braking, but now I'm also wondering if they operate at a higher temperature which would take advantage of McLarens temp. tuning gizmo.