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18-inch tyres for 2020?

NEWS STORY
04/06/2018

F1 is seeking to introduce 18-inch tyres as part of the sport's major rules overhaul in 2021, but they could be introduced as early as 2020.

With Pirelli's current contract to exclusively provide the sport's tyres running out at the end of next season, the Italian manufacturer has made no secret of its desire to see F1 move from its current 13-inch tyres to 18-inch.

Insisting that 18-inch tyres have more road relevance than the current 13-inch version, Pirelli has demonstrated the bigger tyres - which are currently used in WEC and Formula E - on a couple of occasions, most notably when driver turned commentator Martin Brundle took to the streets of Monaco in 2015 with a race-ready 18-inch GP2 tyre fitted to the (then) series development car. Previously, Charles Pic had run 18-inch tyres on the Renault in the (2014) post-British GP test.

"This is a very good, positive initiative," said Brundle at the time, "and it was really interesting to drive the Formula One circuit in a GP2 car with these tyres.

"It actually felt completely normal," he continued, "by the second lap I was able to push the car a bit; I had my foot flat to the floor occasionally! Initially, I was expecting the car to feel a lot stiffer with these tyres, but that wasn't the case at all.

"There are a few things to get used to - for example it's harder to see exactly where the apex is - but as a driver your job is to adapt. I wish I could have done a few more laps."

While there are a number of factors in favour of the move, most notably the 18-inch tyres being less resilient than their current counterparts, teams had argued that the move would drive up costs. However, it is understood that opinion has changed and a move to 18-inch tyres could come as early as 2020. To that end such a move would be included in the tender when it is put out to manufacturers as Pirelli's current contract comes to an end.

Weighing heavily on the move to 18-inch tyres being introduced in 2020 is the fact that no new manufacturer - should they win the contract - is going to be interested in developing 13-inch tyres that will be phased out after just one season. The next contract will run from 2020 to 2022 and tenders have to be submitted by the end of this month.

Pirelli, which is understood to be seeking the switch to 18-inches as part of its new contract bid, is happy to make the switch.

"We are open," says CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera, according to Motorsport.com. "Obviously they have to find the right regulation, and have the teams ready to adopt it.

"There are a number of issues of aerodynamics, of suspension and so on," he continued. "When the teams are ready, we are ready.

"For us it is always technology. We are happy with 13, we are happy with 18. Tyres are more visible, the bigger they are, the better it is. But the technological challenges are different."

According to Auto Motor und Sport, another move under serious consideration is to return to the concept of having smaller wheels at the front than at the rear.

The German publication cites the fact that smaller front wheels would mean less turbulence to the rear and less weight.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Rock Doc, 06/06/2018 18:03

"More tinkering with aspects that have little or no value to the racing. So they look nice, but it won't get the drivers closer to racing each other. It's just more distraction from the real issues that affect the racing.

My 2 cents ... we need more competition with the tyres which translate to more manufacturers in my book. Have simple rules for the size of the wheels then let the tyre manufacturers and the teams decide the best size for the wheels for their cars. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by mzso, 06/06/2018 11:12

"I don't see any reason why they should keep the counter-intuitive tall sidewalls.

I don't understand Brundle's note that the apex is harder to see? How? The tyres are the same diameter. Only the rims change."

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3. Posted by imejl99, 05/06/2018 9:14

"@PlayF1
center line depends on wheel diameter, if diameter is the same center line stays the same.

@GrahamG
ever crossed your mind that tyres are made as they are on purpose? "

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4. Posted by GrahamG, 04/06/2018 15:42

"Current tyres look stupid and are not fit for purpose. Every race seems to be decided on whose car suits the tyre this weekend and why do we need a myriad of useless compounds. Surely two compounds with a free choice of what to use and when would be much cheaper and less artificial. Basically Pirelli have proved that they haven't a clue of how to make race tyres and should be sidelined - Michelin, please "

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5. Posted by Nortim, 04/06/2018 15:22

"So new PUs, new rim size within 2-3 years, that will bring the cost down for sure!"

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6. Posted by PlayF1, 04/06/2018 14:50

"I believe it was always claimed, that the larger tyre wall afforded an element of the suspension.
IE. Necessary.

I'm just wondering what the advantages are, other than marketing.

The drive centre line is going to be 2.5" higher.
With all the weight remaining at the current height, I presume that they will offer greater stability when cornering.
... though I'm guessing that there will be more shock, when the car hits the kerbs, due to reduced flex in the side walls.

A technical appraisal would be useful."

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7. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 04/06/2018 12:47

"About time they moved - only F1 have stuck with an obsolete specification. As for brakes - mandate the present diameter to remain."

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8. Posted by imejl99, 04/06/2018 12:07

"It is rims we are talking about, correct? Wheel diameter of 670 mm will stay the same? Meaning more alloy less rubber? Let`s for a moment forget about weight, air volume, aero and suspension impact, even let`s forget about expenses of introducing 18". Bigger rim gives more space to accommodate brake disc and brake caliper resulting in bigger brakes better braking. Meaning, even shorter braking zones, no overtaking anywhere. It will look contemporary, though. "

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9. Posted by Ro, 04/06/2018 12:07

"Noooooooo !!!! It will make "processional races" even worse...."

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