Formula 1 - Tyres a test for engine makers too

Formula 1 drivers are not alone in facing headaches due to high-degrading tyres this year, because even the engine manufacturers are finding they need to work twice as hard.

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Pirelli tyres (Reuters)

The impact of Pirelli's more aggressive products in 2013 has been huge, with the role of the tyres still the number one talking point among teams and drivers at this stage of the campaign.

Yet the quest to look after tyres has extended far beyond simply deft driving and a fine-tuning of car set-up, because it has also extended as far as the software set-up of engine torque maps.

Renault's head of trackside engineering Remi Taffin has revealed that his engineers have had to at least double their workload when it comes to ensuring that the engine characteristics do not lead to excessive tyre wear.

"I think the big change with the emphasis on tyre wear is that we are working twice or three times more on driver torque maps than we were last year," said Taffin, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the impact the current tyres were having on engine useage.

"Now we are trying to get every single corner right, and you try and get every single lap of the race right. So you have to get more than one map this year to suit the drivers.

"If last year we were spending 25 per cent of our time on this, then this year it is maybe 50 per cent.

"It is due to the fact that we know that it will be paying off more than something else, so due to the time constraints we put our energy on this."

The current engine freeze in F1, allied to widespread rule stability, means that engine makers like Renault are having to dig deeper in to details like torque maps to try and seek out any advantage - especially when their work can impact on those crucial tyres.

Taffin added: "As soon as you haven't got the torque you ask for you can lose the traction and, if you break traction, then you get the tyre wear. That is the critical point.

"Beyond that, you have the second layer which is the driver torque map. It is there normally to give the driver the same feelings throughout the race, so he knows when he goes out of Turn 13 that he has to apply 20 per cent of throttle even if the amount of torque being delivered is different.

"It means he always gets the same feeling and same efficiency from the tyre on every lap. That is the basic principle."

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