Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Radials and cross-plies in racing
"The road holding of a radial is superior, but once breakaway point is reached you lose adhesion very rapidly. Where controlled adhesion loss is required, as in a racing car tyre, then a cross ply tyre is used. This problem can be mitigated in a radial by fitting an asymetric tread, with progressive breakaway characteristics." (Nicholas M Doak, Rubber Journal. New Scientist 29 Jun 1972, p772).
Truly, the origins of the modern world can be found in the 1970s. However, Nicholas Doak's letter to New Scientist poses several important questions:
(1) If radial tyres suffer from a sudden loss of adhesion, then does the universal adoption of radial tyres in Formula 1 since 1983 explain why the cars are so rarely held in a controlled slide (Sebastien Vettel, Variante Ascari, Monza 2011 notwithstanding).
(2) How was Gilles Villeneuve able to hold his Michelin-shod Ferrari in so many controlled slides?
(3) Now that Formula 1 has a control tyre formula, why don't we introduce an asymmetric tread, or something similar, to make it easier for the drivers to slide the cars?