March 27, 2008

Tire Warm-up 101

Jarno Trulli is on his warm up lap, putting heat in the tires. I was struck by the relative violence of it all, no pussyfooting about there from the Toyota driver.

One could use this video to illustrate friction circle theory quite graphically to performance driving students: There are times when Trulli, in a corner, whips in more steering and you can see this has almost zero effect on his trajectory.

It is also an illustration of how stiff and under steering Formula 1 cars are set up to be. At low speeds, with low aerodynamic loads, a gentle touch is needed to maintain adhesion.


  1. "At low speeds, with low aerodynamic loads, a gentle touch is needed to maintain adhesion."

    interesting insight that, thank you :)

  2. do you think heidfeld intended to lock his wheel for a brief second there, is that an additional part of the process, or just a slight mistake?

  3. I'm sure it was not intentional because .. well who wants square tires. But it doe show you how easy it is to do... especially at low speed without 40 tons of downforce on the front wheels :o)

  4. Well, that's one way to get heat into the skins, huh?

    Trulli has always been an interesting guy; by turns smooth then violently unpredictable.

    Never could figure out why he hasn;t performed better.

  5. Feels like warm up lap at GPNY (same behaviour - full lock, no steering...)

    That's pretty normal behaviour for any racecar setup.

    The less grip there is the bigger the bias towards understeer. Even performance street cars, will be more oversteery (less underteer) when you swap normal tires for Rcomps, and why almost anything understeers like a pig in the snow.


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