Formula 1 night shifts are coming up in Las Vegas. This also means low temperatures. The cold start challenges the driver and the material.
Low temperatures on the Formula 1 nights in Las Vegas give drivers and engineers pause. Cold weather at the Grand Prix in the gambling metropolis is not only a challenge for the tires if you want to exploit their full performance.
For the drivers of the premier motorsport class, it’s all about simple things like warm fingers. “Your hands have to work when you drive. That’s why we have to pay particular attention to that,” said McLaren driver Lando Norris before the penultimate race of the year. Sometimes simple things like hand warmers would help to prevent stiff fingers.
At the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix it was only five degrees
In the Nevada desert, it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach single digits at night in November. The race itself starts on Saturday at 10 p.m. local time. The lowest temperatures in Formula 1 history were recorded at the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix with just five Grands.
“When you drive out at track temperatures like this, it’s difficult,” said Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg. “It will be challenging.” However, drivers are no strangers to dealing with low temperatures. You know this from the tests before the start of the season, which took place in Spain in February.
There is a risk of slipping in Las Vegas
Pirelli’s motorsport director Mario Isola described the conditions on the strip in Las Vegas, where new asphalt was also being laid, as a “big unknown” for the drivers. The rubbers are designed to provide a lot of grip at high temperatures. At low temperatures they are significantly less grippy. There is a risk of slipping.
“There can be so many variables,” said Carlos Sainz from Ferrari, who, like his competitors, only prepared for the cold start in Las Vegas in the simulator. “You can be as prepared as you want. Only when you’re in the car can you react properly.”
Tire poker as a show element?
The tires are normally brought up to temperature in the corners, but they cool down again on the long straights. The organizers also see the tires as a kind of show element. “This increases the excitement and competition on the track,” said chief organizer Renee Wilm about the tire poker.
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