What Happens To The Used F1 Tires?

What Happens To The Used F1 Tires

Formula 1 teams use multiple sets of tires every race weekend. Since there are 20 cars competing at each race, this leads to a large number of used tires that need to be disposed of. Tires are considered “used” when they are fitted to rims, and these used tires are recycled by Pirelli. Keep reading to learn exactly what happens to used F1 tires.

Who Makes F1 Tires?

There have been ten different companies to manufacture tires in the history of Formula 1. Pirelli has been involved in the sport since 1950 but has been the exclusive tire partner since 2011. Pirelli is set to continue being the sole manufacturer of F1 tires until 2024. Each team is given 13 sets of tires to use for each weekend of racing. That adds up to over one thousand tires used during any given weekend.

What Defines a Tire as Used?

Tires are subject to constant wear and tear during races, hence why teams are allowed to use 13 sets per weekend. Over the course of a season, this adds up to thousands of disposed tires. All of the tires that are used by a team have to be sent back to Pirelli as either used or unused. 

Tires are deemed as “used” in a few different manners by Pirelli. The easiest way to label tires as used is when they are removed from cars. In addition, tires that are mounted onto rims are also considered used since the process of separating them from the rims can cause damage to the tires. Therefore, tires that are mounted onto rims and not used for an event are also scrapped. 

New tires are supplied for every event during the Formula 1 season and are not transported from one location to another. This became an issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, as some Grand Prixs were canceled, leading to large numbers of tires being wasted. All tires are subject to rigorous testing to ensure safety and quality.

How Are Used F1 Tires Disposed Of?

As tires are deemed “used” and “unused,” how are the used tires disposed of? Used Pirelli tires are recycled as a part of the company’s “green technology” program. After a Grand Prix, all of the tires are ripped apart and packaged up in order to be sent back to Pirelli’s cement factory in Didcot, England. In order to be environmentally friendly, the tires are burned at the factory at temperatures as high as 1,500 degrees Celsius. The high temperatures prevent harmful chemicals from being put into the atmosphere. In addition, some of the byproducts that are remaining are then used for things like tarring roads and other industrial purposes.