Three teams to test Pirelli's 18" tyres this year


In the wake of the news that F2 will run 18" tyres in 2020, a year before they are introduced to F1, Pirelli has revealed that three teams will begin testing prototype tyres later this year.

While all the teams were offered the opportunity to be involved, albeit with a modified 2018 car, Red Bull and Ferrari declined. While the Austrian team cited the switch to a new engine supplier, its Italian rival claims not to have the time or resources.

"Obviously we have been offered," admitted Mattia Binotto. "It has been our own choice not to participate.

"Being short on time and the resources for the programme we decided simply not to take part in this test in '19," he continued, "but we are preparing ourselves to do it obviously in 2020. I'm pretty sure that we will have the opportunity to do it.

"Will that be a disadvantage? Certainly you cannot do everything and you need to make your own priorities as some stage and that again has been our own choice but there is still a process put in place where Pirelli anyway are sharing the data with all the teams, of the output and the results of the new tyre testing so we are certainly counting on that one for actually the very first test."

As a result, Pirelli has revealed that Mercedes, McLaren and Renault will do the honours, each team providing a mule car for two days running later in the year.

"The intention is to have three sessions," said Pirelli's Mario Isola, "September, October and November, and three teams are going to supply the mule car.

"We are going to offer the opportunity to provide a mule car for 2020 again to all the teams," he continued, "it's their choice if they want to do that or not.

"It's the same system and the same procedure that we have used in the last few years. We offer to everybody, teams can accept or not and then we make a plan according to the number of teams that accept it.

"We have 25 days of testing for next year, as it was in the last few years, so we have a short development plan for 2020 in the first half of the season and then we switch on 18-inch tyres from September onwards."

While it is claimed that the early introduction of 18" tyres to F2 will aid development of the tyres for F1, team bosses were sceptical that the junior formula could be useful as a development platform for the sport.

"For me Pirelli is the best person to reply, whether that is useful or not as a platform," said Binotto. "The cars are quite different, the level of performance is certainly quite different. The level of downforce and loads on the tyres are different but those are things that Pirelli is obviously aware of but at least it's a good starting point.

"They can get some experience on a different platform, a different formula and whatever they can do there will be of help for Formula One, but I'm pretty sure that they are pretty aware that on the F1, the exercise will be much more difficult."

"The forces, especially after 2017 when Formula One decided to move on to the wider size and the cars are faster and faster, it's a good opportunity to get some experience from our side but we cannot compare the F2 tyre with a Formula One tyre," admitted Isola. "We will develop the Formula One tyre with the new cars, with a representative performance and otherwise we make a mistake for sure.

"We have to develop a bespoke tyre for Formula One but the effect we are anticipating with Formula Two is helpful because we can have some experience with single-seaters on 18 inches but don't forget we are supplying a lot of other championships with 18 inch tyres, like GT and touring cars and so on, but the stress and the energy that is going into the tyre on a Formula One car is not comparable."

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Published: 11/05/2019
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