At an event that happened on Saturday in China, Pirelli congratulated Valtteri Bottas on achieving an incredible 316km/h (196mph) in the wet conditions. They added that he achieved this on the Intermediate tyre, which is only meant for a damp track, and not for full wet conditions.
We even got some other insights from them. At full speed, each of the tyres evacuates 25 litres of water, with just 2.5mm of tread. These are some amazing statistics, and it’s incredible how the Pirelli tyres allowed Bottas to maintain good contact between the tyres and the track. Typically the wide Formula One tyres make aquaplaning easier, and achieving such a speed showed Bottas’ bravery.
For him, it must have felt like flying on the water. Surely he was on the edge of grip, and almost aquaplaning. Just a bit more water, and he would be charging into the concrete barriers without any control!
Could you imagine driving along a motorway at 80mph, in very wet conditions and almost no visibility? The answer is probably no, yet Bottas achieved 196mph. I think I would be right to say that this is the equivalent of flying a passenger jet in thick fog with a broken engine. It’s scary to think what could happen.
Seeing Bottas achieve those sorts of speeds in the wet in China, was one of those moments that gave you goosebumps: which is what Formula One is meant to be all about. The Cinturato Green intermediate is in fact the only tyre in our range that is completely unaltered compared to 2013, but it was still able to provide complete control even under extremely marginal conditions. This performance underlines the sheer bravery and talent of today’s Formula One drivers – which is what everyone wants to see. - Paul Hembery
Written by: Jakub Kot