Monza from a tire point of view
With more than 80% of the lap spent on full throttle, Monza is known as the temple of speed. No better place then, for Pirelli to announce the first-ever road tire directly derived from Formula One.
Among the guests in attendance at the P Zero Silver presentation held in a spectacular hangar close Pirelli’s HQ in Milan were Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button and Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
“I think the tire is key to the performance of a car,” said Button at the event. “I personally feel that Pirelli has done a great job in bringing so many different types of tire that work in so many different scenarios. It’s been fantastic working with Pirelli and I really enjoy the relationship we have. It’s definitely been more fun this year. If you look at the amount of overtaking we have now, it not all down to the Drag Reduction System and the KERS. A lot of it is down to the tires. Formula One is in a great place right now; the most competitive it’s been since I’ve been involved in the sport.”
The 5.793-kilometer lap of Monza is sure to be even quicker this year thanks to an extensive DRS zone during qualifying that covers 74% of the lap. The higher the speed, the more energy is transmitted through the hard-working tires. We take a closer look at exactly what the rubber goes through during a typical lap of Monza…
After building up speed, the drivers are hard on the brakes for the first corner, the Variante del Rettifilio, shedding 155mph in about three seconds. The drivers are travelling at more than 186mph on bumpy asphalt, which makes it hard to hold the ideal line under braking. The energy dissipated helps to maximize the grip available but generates temperatures on the tire tread that peak at 302° F.
One of the key corners, and a good place to overtake, is Roggia. Taking the ideal line, the car uses a lot of the kerbing, putting a huge amount of stress on the carcass of each tire. While it may not look so dramatic from the outside, the reality is that the drivers and cars really feel the impact. The internal structure of the tire is particularly rigid, reducing the risk of sliding and ensuring the maximum driving precision.
Another famous part of the track is the Variante Ascari: part of a sequence of corners taken at high speed. On the entry to the corner, the tire determines how the car turns in and the amount of grip it can generate through the corners. On the exit, the grip from the soft tire in particular allows the best possible traction to utilize the power from both the KERS system and the engine.
Coming into Parabolica the drivers change down into third gear for this long right-hander that marks the end of the lap. The car tends to slide towards the outside of the corner. There is little aerodynamic grip, so the driver has to work with the throttle and the steering to hold the ideal line. Then it’s back on the power once more and into the start-finish straight again, accelerating up to 205mph in seventh gear.