Did you know that the development of winter tyres has benefited tremendously from analysis gathered on Formula One race tracks? According to Pirelli tyres, the extreme requirements of the world of motor racing act as a catalyst for considerable improvement in the quality of consumer products. Apparently, analysis of the behaviour of different compounds with changes in the temperature of the asphalt has contributed significantly to the creation and perfection of winter tyres.
Pirelli explains: “Like the Green Intermediate tyres of Formula One, winter tyres offer completely different performance to summer tyres, when used below a certain temperature. The Intermediate Green tyres, in addition to having a tread which allows for water to be dispersed, are able to maintain sufficient traction on damp or wet asphalt, just when the compound of dry tyres, hardening in lower temperatures, is no longer able to grip the road surface effectively.
“The threshold of winter tyres is around 7 degrees Celsius. Below this temperature, the summer compounds tend to harden, no longer guaranteeing the same grip as when the asphalt is warmer, lowering dynamic performance. As a consequence, road safety is affected in all aspects, from braking distance to road holding in turns.
“Winter tyres, specifically due to their special compound, retain their softness even when the asphalt becomes cold, not just in the presence of ice and snow. In addition to the benefits of the compound created ad hoc for the lower temperatures, there is the design of the tread, according to the model, which is more or less adapted to gripping the road in snowy conditions.
“In addition to the longitudinal channels, created to favour water displacement, the tread of winter tyres, deeper and softer than that of summer tyres, is equipped with special scales which capture the snow; and it is this snow itself which helps to grip the snow on the ground. Completing the product is the less rigid casing compared to the summer tyre, which allows that minimal amount of drift that in difficult conditions helps the tyre to maintain greater stability.
“But the evolution of this particular compound, born out of the extreme requirements of the racing world, has allowed noticeable improvement in the standard products in terms of specialised tyres, allowing the use of compounds adapted to the different seasons, constantly increasing safety.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office