18-inch F2 tyre, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Renault was the “strike-breaker” on 18-inch Pirelli tyre test – Wolff

2019 F1 season

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Renault was the first team to break a pact not to begin testing Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres this season, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Three teams – Mercedes, Renault and McLaren – will participate in the first tests of Pirelli’s new 18-inch rubber for the 2021 F1 season later this year. Wolff explained Mercedes had agreed to supply a ‘mule car’ for these tests despite having originally agreed not to.

“On one hand you need to understand that Pirelli needs the testing,” he said. “On the other hand it wasn’t resource we intended to spend in 2019.

“We were hoping that all tyre tests with 18-inch rims could be delayed to 2020. We made it clear that if all teams would agree to postpone it that would be the best outcome but if one senior one would jump on it, we would also. So Renault was the strike-breaker and then it was McLaren and us.”

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jnr said he would jump at the opportunity to be the first to test the new dimension wheels and tyres.

“From my side the earlier I get to try, the better,” he said. “The more I can help Pirelli with developing them the better.

“I think it’s a good thing to have actual Formula 1 drivers – if I actually get to test them which I don’t know – to develop them. I’ll put my hand up.”

The other teams will have a chance to test the 18-inch tyres during the 2020 F1 season, POirelli motorsport director Mario Isola explained.

“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.”

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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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  • 9 comments on “Renault was the “strike-breaker” on 18-inch Pirelli tyre test – Wolff”

    1. Of course this all is meant to spare millions of Euros! And promote equality!

      Oh, wait…

      1. BTW,
        where did this myth about 18 inches being “standard” or “so widely used” came from?
        No, really?

        I don’t defend 13 inch rims, they are indeed not so popular and “relevant” to tyre-maketd, but 18 inches are also nowhere near “standard” or “mass widely used”. 15 – yes, 16 – yes, 19 – yes… 18 -???
        Or was it just some compromise?

        1. 18″ is within a range where they learn something. Huge sidewalls don’t go with performance tyres, so 13″ is completely unrelated – only lorry and large-van tyres have that degree of cushioning.

          Bear in mind how wide F1 tyres are. The aspect ratio is similar to road-car tyres.

        2. When I read your comment I had to do some quick looking around on a few car makers websites just to see what new cars are delivered with these days. I picked a few models somewhere in the middle of the size-range, not SUV’s and not little city hatchbacks but somewhere in between. They seem to be around 17-18 inch as standard with 16 and 19 as different options. Larger cars will obviously push that upward and smaller ones downwards. I would say 18 then is a very good middle ground if you are a tire manufacturer today.

          Personally if I could decide, I think I would have gone for 17″ wheels and kept the same 670mm tires rather than 18″ wheels with silly-large 720mm tires.

    2. Mildly amusing side-note: I’ve never noticed the valve on a 13″ rim, whereas here it is quite noticeable.

      1. It’s not an F1 designed wheel, you can bet the wheel supplier won’t have that thing sticking out of the F1 wheel!

        1. @cavman99 – ah, so its just a bog standard Oz rim, not a design actually intended for racing. That makes sense! :)

      2. I think they’re going to have aero covers.

    3. “We were hoping that all tyre tests with 18-inch rims could be delayed to 2020. We made it clear that if all teams would agree to postpone it that would be the best outcome but if one senior one would jump on it, we would also. So Renault was the strike-breaker and then it was McLaren and us.”

      This to me sounds like there never was a pact. Mercedes did not want to do it but renault and mclaren did want to do it so mercedes had to do too. Maybe mercedes was hoping to do a secret tire test like they did with pirelli in 2013.

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