Pirelli 18-inch tyre test, 2014

FIA asks potential F1 tyre suppliers to suggest post-2019 changes

2020 F1 season

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The FIA has told manufacturers interested in becoming Formula 1’s tyre supplier after 2019 they may suggest changes to its performance targets.

Tyre manufacturers were invited last month to submit tenders to become F1’s official tyre supplier from 2020 to 2023, a role Pirelli has held since 2011.

In a letter sent today the FIA advised interested parties the tender has been “modified for clarification purposes.”

While there has been no change in the requirement for the new manufacturer to supply rubber for 13-inch wheels in 2020 and 18-inch wheels from 2021, the FIA said it will to consider changes to the “target letter”. These targets, now referred to as “objectives” in the tender, set goals for performance and degradation rates.

“We would draw your attention to the fact that interested bidders are invited to detail in their bid their approach/possible alternative to the FIA requirements and/or to the objectives referred to in the target letter,” the FIA added.

The objectives are intended primarily for “improvement of the show” but also to improve drive-ability, achieve high performance and ensure the tyres work in a broad range of operating conditions.

The revised tender states the FIA “reserves the right to alter the parameters of this document, but commits to consult with the provider before issuing a new set of parameters.”

Former F1 tyre supplier Michelin previously expressed interest in the tender but told RaceFans last month it is “not interested in only the show” and believes there should be a “technical challenge.”

Another change in the tender stipulates the tyre suppliers will produce a maximum of “four different compounds” from 2020. Pirelli currently produces seven dry-weather compounds, but intends to reduce that to six next year.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “FIA asks potential F1 tyre suppliers to suggest post-2019 changes”

  1. I been watching the 2003 season lately and at one stage during the British GP Brundle started explaining the concept of graining. It hit me, they never talked about the different types of degradation and wear in tyres back then! Sure it was back when we had the tyre wars and that was complicated in its own right, but sure the drivers could push all through the race. You really notice it.

    I hope they go that way in the future, the operating window with these tyres is rather small these days!

    1. @fer-no65, I can recall quite a few complaints at the time from drivers about problems with graining, particularly when there were times when they’d have to back off and hope that it cleared up from the tyres before they could begin pushing again. It’s just that, since radio communications were mostly encrypted at the time, only the teams would ever hear any complaints from the drivers during the race, so most of the criticism about issues such as graining tended to be reported after the races by magazine writers instead.

    2. @fer-no65 Totally agree with you, there is a balance and with Pirelli it is skewed too much towards variability due to the tyre technology they developed.

      It’s fine for a brand to receive plenty of coverage, but the fickle nature of the current tyres with their narrow operating window, impacts the ‘show’ and is a variable most F1 fans would be happy to see the back of – the tyres compromise the racing.

    3. @fer-no65 Degredation/Wear wasn’t really that big a factor back then & drivers could push/lean on the tyres throughout a stint with very little (If any) drop in performance/grip.

      Up until maybe mid-2003 A graining phase was something the Michelin tyres could suffer on occasion (Not every weekend). They tended to start to grain up after 5-6 laps but then settle down after a handful of laps with full performance returning. Once they changed the compounds around mid-2003 they became far less prone to graining & from 2004-2006 it wasn’t an issue for them at all that I can remember.

      @anon From 2000-2002 we did have access to most of the team radio apart from Ferrari/McLaren who only gave us access to there’s under certain conditions (Race finish for example). Williams were always quite open as were the rest of the field & we even had access to the engineer channels back then as well as when cars were in the pits so we were able to broadcast (On F1 Digital+) some discussions about car handling & setup changes which was always interesting to hear. We were also able to broadcast it all live & uncensored.

  2. @fer-no65 or alternatively, all that was there, but a) we didn’t have HD video/images to see the graining/blistering, etc. and b) we just weren’t told in that much detail what the tyres were doing. The latter probably wasn’t quite helped by having different manufacturers that each had their own special sauce and secrets, while for Pirelli the only way to be noticed is to be open about what is going on with those black bands around the wheels.

    On the article, some flexibility is good, but I can’t help but think the FIA was forced to do this because so far there was a dearth of willing Tyre providers, as indicated by the mention of Michelin’s reaction. So then, apart from Pirelli, what other real candidates are there? Bridgestone/Firestone? Goodyear? Continental? Or maybe one of the Indian brands, Apollo or MRF? I don’t see most of them going for it.

    1. @bosyber obviously graining and degrading always happened but I don’t think it was a major issue like it is now. Drivers always tell us that these tyres are particularly sensitive, and that’s why we see so much variation every weekend.

      1. Yes, you are right of course @fer-no65, I was being a bit strong in opposing you – I do think that Pirelli has been making tyres that are very sensitive, and react strongly to a lot of different parameters, which makes them effectively hard to predict for the teams. Sometimes it means we have more interesting fights than we expected, but often, it also just makes things ultimately less interesting because teams can’t use them to fight on track.

  3. Those big rims look like bicycle wheels with those tiny brakes inside the huge spokes.

    1. Your not wrong about looking like bicycle wheels. Not a fan of the 18” look.

    2. The hubs you see are spec’d for the 13” rim.

      Undoubtedly come 2021 and the 18” rim
      The hub/disk will get much bigger to fil the gap

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