During a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, each driver receives 20 sets of tires, 13 of which are for dry tracks, four of the intermediate type and three for wet tracks. This means that each team has 160 compounds available per stage. If we consider the 22 races of the season, there are more than 35 thousand tires traveling around the world. But what happens to all of them after each event ends?
During coverage of the Brazilian F1 GP, Autoesporte spoke with Scott, one of the representatives from Pirelli, the category’s official tire supplier, to find out the answer.
I’ll start by saying that if you imagined that F1 tires were donated or sold to anyone who wanted to put one of them in their living room as an ornament or souvenir, know that you are very mistaken. This, by the way, is impossible to happen.
After each stage, the tires are collected and transported back to Pirelli’s engineering and logistics center in Didcot, England. According to Scott, they are sent by ship and take around three months to reach their destination. Why? This is where all compounds are recycled.
Before being crushed and heated, along with other conventional car tires, the rubber used in Formula 1 cars undergoes testing. They are then burned at extremely high temperatures, reaching approximately 1,400°C. This climate is chosen precisely to release fewer harmful particles into the environment. Furthermore, the result of the process is a fuel.
What if one of the tires is forgotten in some country? “That never happens.” That was Scott’s answer to my question. According to the Pirelli employee, all the information for each compound is present in a barcode.
“We can know everything that happens to an F1 tire from the day it was created until the day it is destroyed. They are constantly analyzed. We see the time it was placed on the car, the time it was pushed on a cart , the time you entered and left the container. Everything,” he explains.
In short, under no circumstances will you or anyone, be it Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen, own a used tire from a Formula 1 car.
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