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2008 trends - traction control ban and tyre gases 28 March 2008

This became a hot topic last year, since part of the information at the heart of the McLaren 'spy scandal' was supposedly related to Ferrari's use of a particular mixture of inert gases, in particular CO2, to inflate their tyres. This year almost all teams are experimenting with different blends of gases (air, nitrogen and CO2 are all permitted) in a bid to negate the negative impact of the ban on traction control and engine braking control. The removal of these systems means more wheelspin at the rear and more locking up under braking at the front, which in turn leads to more sudden variations in tyre surface temperature. These sudden variations make it more difficult to keep tyre pressures constant - crucial to the car's handling - hence teams are seeking the gas blend whose pressure is the least sensitive to temperature changes.