The seemingly innocuous phenomenon of tyre camber could be set to play a decisive role at a second consecutive grand prix.
At Spa two weeks ago, a saga unfolded over the apparent safety of Pirelli’s tyres, after worrying blisters appeared on the dominant Red Bull cars.
It emerged that the team exceeded the recommendations for camber angle dictated by the official tyre supplier.
Pirelli’s F1 chief Paul Hembery confirmed that Red Bull had gone “to the limits of our recommendations”, believed to be 4 degrees.
Red Bull designer Adrian Newey confirmed that the RB7 indeed exceeded the limits by “just a hair or something, just a tiny bit over”.
“Obviously if we had known there was a safety concern about it, we wouldn’t have done it.”
Hembery denied the situation was ever a safety concern, but it is believed Pirelli’s recommendation has nonetheless been lowered to between 3.5 and 4 degrees for Monza and beyond.
This weekend could be particularly critical, given that the high speed nature of the Monza circuit can see – according to Pirelli – the “contact patch … increase to three times its (normal) size” on the straights.
And while the focus was on the Red Bulls at Spa, it is also true that McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had to start the Belgian race with blisters on his tyres.
The British team’s principal engineer Phil Prew told reporters on Wednesday that McLaren has therefore reacted to Pirelli’s revised camber recommendations.
“We’ve done some work to look at some options that the camber constraints may impose on us,” he said in a Vodafone teleconference. “We have solutions that minimise the impact on our car.”