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F1 set for 18" wheels and low profile tyres in 2021

NEWS STORY
20/07/2018

The tender for the sport's tyre supply from 2021 sees F1 heading to 18" wheels and low profile tyres. At the same time, as previously proposed, the sport is seeking a ban on tyre blankets.

A move to 18" wheel has been mooted for some time and in 2014 Pirelli tested 18" wheels rims during the Silverstone test (pictured).

The banning of tyre blankets has also been discussed before but was put on the backburner due to safety concerns however, in its tender the FIA states: "Tyres should provide safe performance when leaving the pits cold".

Front tyres will be narrower, reducing from the current 305mm in width to 270mm while the rear tyres will remain 405mm wide.

It is also proposed that a low temperature tyre is introduced specifically for pre-season testing at Barcelona when temperatures are lower.

The tender is open to all tyre manufacturers but Pirelli must be favourites to retain their position as a new supplier would not only have to provide the new specification tyres for 2021 but would also have to go to the expense of providing a tyres range to be used solely for the 2020 season.

With aim of the new tyre rules to be "spicing up the show", the sport is seeking tyres that will allow drivers to push harder for longer whilst still providing the opportunity for variations in strategy.

Worryingly however, for those already concerned that the over regulation of the sport is destroying it and killing off innovation, the demands put forward in the tender will offer little comfort.

As now, there will be three compounds available at each race, hard, medium and soft, with the FIA stipulating: that the hard compound should see 2s degradation achieved at 22% race distance (base lap time), the medium compound seeing 2s degradation achieved at 18% race distance - 1.2s/lap quicker than the hard compound - and the soft compound seeing 2s degradation achieved at 10% race distance - 2.2s/lap quicker than the hard.

In terms of tyre wear, the tender states that it is: "considered desirable both for its impact on race strategies and to ensure tyres are not run to a point of excessive wear. A non-linear performance gradient change ('cliff') at a certain percentage of tyre wear would achieve this. It is suggested that an underlayer of low performance is designed below the tread compound to achieve this."

In terms of performance, the tender states: "In terms of absolute lap time, the performance of the tyres fitted to 18" wheels should, when at operating temperature, be at least as good as the 2019 tyres."

The deadline for bids is August 31st, with a decision on technical and safety compliance due by September 14.

Check out our Friday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by EarSchplitten Loudenboomer, 26/07/2018 22:38

"What about suspension? The current tyres are about all the suspension F1 cars have right now. Low profile tyres will not have as much give and flexibility and will make an expedition over serrated curbs a bigger risk. They were suggesting some sort of generic active suspension when they first proposed these tyres but I haven't noticed anything about that lately."

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2. Posted by imejl99, 20/07/2018 14:27

"If I may, why not regulate diameter, front and rear width, brake disc maximum diameter and that is it? Why not let team A goes for size x" with Michelin, team B with y" with Pirelli, team C with z" with Yokohama, or any supplier out there... ? Why it is better to create artificial competition with compounds, percentages and mandatory stops than real competition? "

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3. Posted by YuppieScum, 20/07/2018 13:17 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 20/07/2018 13:19)

""Front tyres will be narrower, reducing from the current 305mm in width to 270mm..."

What the hell? How does reducing the amount of grip available at the front of the car address the oft-complained about issue of cars not being able to follow closely enough to overtake?"

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