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Mercedes comments may worry Lewis Hamilton as team fear F1 about to become 'a worse sport' – Express

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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is concerned that F1 could become a ‘worse sport’ if it continues struggling to resolve the complex issue of tyre blankets. Driver complaints after testing in Austin and Mexico City intensified fears ahead of the device’s ban.
F1 will prohibit the use of tyre blankets from 2024, but drivers weren’t happy after the session in Austin, where tyres were at 50 degrees, which resulted in sliding. Tyres were heated to 70 degrees in Mexico City, but it only slightly solved sliding issues and raised fears for Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the grid over the direction F1 is going.
Shovlin recently weighed in on the topic, suggesting the rate of development in F1 could be too quick for the sport’s tyre provider, Pirelli. And the Silver Arrows figure admitted that he was worried F1 could become ‘worse’ if it fails to balance its needs.
He said: “Their problem is not a static one. These cars have more downforce in a straight line than the cars we used to have. The high-speed loads are very, very high, and the teams are constantly working to add performance. For Pirelli to keep up with that constant development is difficult. So you would say, ‘Yes, of course, you can make a blanketless tyre’. Pirelli probably could give us one straightaway.
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Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.
“But that tyre would not lead to good racing. It would not allow the drivers to push as hard. You would end up with very high tyre pressures and a significant loss of grip. It’s a case of balancing the needs of the sport along with environmental concerns that are all being addressed.
“But the big concern is making sure we don’t end up with a worse sport because we’ve led it with the legislation on what we want to achieve.”
On whether the ban on tyre blankets is realistically achievable by 2024, as planned, Shovlin believes it will be a ‘difficult challenge’ for Pirelli. And he again insisted that F1 must ensure the lawmaking on the device goes at the same rate as teams can develop their cars.
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Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin.
“I think the challenge of taking a car that’s this fast, this powerful, that has this much downforce and making a blanketless tyre is incredibly difficult. It’s very easy to look at the Formula Two series and say, ‘Well, they do it’, but the energies involved are enormously higher,” Shovlin explained.
“We’re around 20 seconds [per lap] quicker at some circuits. That challenge for Pirelli is very, very difficult. It requires a lot of steps of technical development. The sport has to be very careful that the legislation on blankets does not get ahead of the rate at which we can develop the tyres.”
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