Wolff: Risk/reward on banning tyre blankets in F1 unfavourable

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Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff sees a lot of risk and very little reward in banning tyre blankets in Formula 1.

Formula 1's stakeholders are set to vote at the end of July on whether to go ahead with a plan to ban electric tyre warmers as part of the sport's sustainability efforts.

Although there were no issues to report during Pirelli's recent test of its blanket-less tyre product, the prospect of banning tyre warmers has been criticized by several drivers who fear that powering out on a track on stone cold rubber will inevitably lead to crashes.

"If I'm being totally honest, I don't think we as a sport are at a position yet to bring these tyres into a racing scenario," recently commented Mercedes' George Russell.

"I would be very concerned for all the mechanics in the pit lane during a pitstop, I'd be very concerned for the out lap from a race in cold conditions."

Russell's team boss, Toto Wolff, is also opposed to a ban from 2024 on tyre warmers, arguing that the drivers' views on the matter should prevail.

"I think taking let’s say team-specific thoughts out of it, at the end, we want a good show, and we need to listen to the drivers," he said in Montreal.

"And not maybe to one, but to everyone, and see what their opinion is on tyres without warmers.

"I tend to agree with the drivers that why we’re making experiments that could potentially create a safety hazard. We’ve seen how wrong that can go at Spa.

"So what is it that we want to achieve? Is it that we, like, not spending energy on tyre heaters for wet tires that we don’t use at all during the year, very little only?

"Yeah. Risk and reward, my understanding in my life is that risk and reward need to be well-measured, and I don’t think there is a great reward on making experiments in Formula 1 cars with drivers in there for the fun of it."


Wolff confirmed that if it comes down to a vote by the F1 Commission at the end of July, he'll give the plan a thumbs down based on his drivers' feedback.

"I’m going to vote on tyres on what my drivers tell me," he said, with Mick Schumacher standing nearby.

"Mick, Lewis and George, whatever their opinion, will be on how I should vote on tyre warmers."

Asking Schumacher if tyre blankets should still be used in 2024, the young German gave a silent nod to his team boss.

"So you know how I’m going to vote," concluded the Austrian.

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