With slicks hopefully making a comeback next year, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Bridgestone have been trying to alleviate fears that the loss of tyre-warmers next season may affect the pace of the cars when commencing their warm-up lap. The issues surrounding the differential in speed between a warm slick and a cold slick came about after the teams conducted some preliminary tests at Jerez last year. David Coulthard voiced concern at the time, and the laptimes set between hot and cold tyres varied by as much as several seconds.
I have talked to quite a few drivers about it and they all shared the same opinion that without the blankets, when a car from the pits joins the track when other cars are on a hot lap, it is pretty scary. There is such a big difference of speed. David Coulthard.
To counter this obvious concern Bridgestone will be testing three different compounds in April when the teams start their pre-European season testing sessions. It is hoped that the combination of the correct compound and higher track temperature will prevent such a difference in laptimes.
We want to check our warm-up issue, because in the winter time we had a warm-up problem and many drivers complained about the warm-up of the tyre. It took too long and there was an imbalance, because the rears warmed up quickly. So after two or three laps, the fronts were cold and the rears were hot. So the rears got a little bit tired before the fronts came in, which made it difficult to drive. Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone.
While nothing has been confirmed yet, should these tests prove positive we could see the return of slick tyres to Formula One.