FIA hits teams with new tyre pressure checks in Austria

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The FIA has imposed a new system for checking tyre pressures from the Austrian Grand Prix onwards in an attempt to clampdown on teams manipulating readings.

Pirelli has been suspicious of teams manipulating the tyre pressures so they are legal when readings are taken before the car goes out on track but then drop below the minimum guidelines while the car is running. With Pirelli believing many teams run the tyres at low pressures on track, it has been increasing its starting pressures to compensate.

Following Jenson Button's comments describing the front tyre pressures in Austria as "unbelievably high" the FIA has informed the teams of a new procedure in an attempt to keep the teams above the minimum pressures.

"FIA informs that with immediate effect during practice sessions, qualifying and the race the minimum starting tyre pressures, as set out in the Pirelli Preview for each event, will always be checked before the wheels are fitted to the car," an FIA statement read.

"These checks will only be carried out on new tyres or used tyres from a previous session, they must be done in the presence of, and be verified by, your designated Pirelli engineer. Once set, no air may be released from the tyres but air may be added. In addition, if a set of tyres is used more than once in any session there will be no requirement to reset the pressures to the minimum starting pressure.

"On the grid the starting pressures will be checked before the wheels are fitted to the car. These checks must be carried out in the presence of, and be verified by, a scrutineer, an FIA delegate or your designated Pirelli engineer. Once set no air may be released from the tyres but air may be added."

The new procedure would negate teams heating the tyres up artificially when fitted to the car in order to temporarily increase the pressures, as this was when Pirelli previously carried out its checks.

Button's comments had seen him allude to teams manipulating pressures when the cars are out on track.

"I think the issue is Pirelli are seeing very low pressures behind the safety car and at certain instances in the race because people are doing certain things," Button said. "So I think that’s why they are putting the pressures up, so the minimum pressure is higher."

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