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Successful debut for Pirelli's 18-inch tyre

NEWS STORY
09/07/2014

Pirelli's new 18-inch concept tyres were the centre of attention at Silverstone today, Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic giving the new design its debut.

Pic headed out shortly after 9am in the E22 equipped with the new 18-inch tyres and completed 14 laps. With the concept tyre designed principally to showcase aesthetics rather than performance, and a general-purpose compound, lap times were not the focus. Instead, the objective was to gauge reaction to the very different new design, which received the thumbs up from most observers.

"In our view, the new tyres looked stunning fitted to the Lotus," said Paul Hembery, "and the reaction has already been felt all over the world. These are just a prototype concept, but if the teams decided that they wanted us to proceed in this direction, we have the capability to carry on development in this area and come up with a production-ready version in a comparatively short space of time. We've heard a lot of opinions already and we look forward to canvassing other opinions in the coming weeks and months.

"Even though performance wasn't by any means priority here, the new tyres still behaved exactly in line with our expectations, so we're clearly potentially at the beginning of a huge development curve, with the wheel and tyre size rules having remained unaltered for many years. These new tyres were clearly the focus of the test, but of course we managed to complete a lot of work for next year and the shorter term as well, with the two days of dedicated tyre testing from Ferrari, Marussia, Lotus and Red Bull as well. Having learned a lot from the previous tyre tests in Bahrain and Barcelona, we were now able to carry out a lot of more targeted work for 2015, on a fast and demanding circuit."

The new tyres were designed and built in accordance with Pirelli's premium strategy in Milan. The key technical advantage of an 18-inch tyre is a stiffer sidewall that helps maintain the structural rigidity of the tyre and also makes it easier for the tyre to maintain a constant pressure - as there is less actual air inside the tyre. The new tyre is physically bigger, which makes it much more relevant to the Ultra High Performance tyres that are seen on the road, leading to greater technology transfer.

The new tyres tested today have the same width as the current 13-inch tyres (245mm at the front and 325mm at the rear) but a diameter that is bigger by 30mm. The weight is approximately the same as the 13-inch tyre, because although the diameter is bigger, there is a smaller sidewall. The total weight, including the rim, is around 4 kilograms heavier.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by nealio, 10/07/2014 18:01

"With the increase in unsprung weight and an aspect ratio which is detrimental to the sidewall flexing which aids road compliance and traction the larger wheel/tire package's only advantage is increased room for larger brakes. This is useful in endurance racing but not F1. Road cars have large wheels for marketing reasons concerning style and Pirelli wants to follow road car practice now? More than a bit backwards. It will give the suspension engineers headaches for sure as the present tires form most of the cars suspension. Heavier, less compliant and less resilient the new Pirelli's are like most things in F1, more about the show than the go! Funny how Pirelli is putting on the glam offensive while backpedaling about how they will only do the tires if the teams want them to. Who told them to build the 18 inch tires and test them at Silverstone, I'd like to know? Pirelli has wanted this change since they came into F1 because bigger tires increase the profits for tire manufacturers and that is the bottom line."

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2. Posted by gturner38, 10/07/2014 1:28

"I like the look of the 13 inch rim, but I understand why they want to make this move. For tire manufacturers, there's no ability to use anything learnt on 13 inch rims in other series. The larger rims have an obvious better visual connection to road tires (better for marketing) and are the size of LMP1 rims."

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3. Posted by vins0n, 10/07/2014 0:22

"Lovely."

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4. Posted by Ro, 09/07/2014 19:08

"nah, get rid of all the twirly-worly wings and winglets...that will be far more pleasing to see and the racing will be better."

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