Pirelli perform first F1 test with 18-inch tyres

2019 F1 season

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Pirelli is performing the first test of the 18-inch tyres which are due to be introduced in the 2021 F1 season.

Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin, who raced for Williams last year, has been chosen to perform the test at Paul Ricard.

“It is the real first test with 18 inches tyers in a modified car, a new car,” said Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola. “So everything is new and there is a lot of question marks.

“But it’s important for us to start in September because at least we have time to react if we find any behaviour that was not predicted by our simulation.”

Isola said the team expects it will not be able to do as much running as usual on its first day with the new rubber.

“The main work will be on construction,” he said. “We start with a compound that is a baseline, something that we know because the first step is to define the construction.

“We cannot define the construction in one test but we start from a construction that is a known baseline. We have some variants of the construction to test at the same test.

“It’s difficult to predict and we have no idea how many kilometres we will be able to achieve because it’s the first test. Usually we target 600, 650 kilometres per day on a normal 13 inches test. It is probably that for the first test on 18 inches will be less.”

Pirelli is also performing its last in-season development test on the current 13-inch rubber with Mercedes.

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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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19 comments on “Pirelli perform first F1 test with 18-inch tyres”

  1. 10 minutes into FP1 in Australia these tyres will feel standard, and the old 13-inch tyres will look really dumb.

    1. 10 mins into winter test session these should look better than current tyres.

    2. Pitstop times will look dumb too.

    3. It was always my understanding it was not the size they were opposed to as much as their weight and what they will do to suspension geometry. Today’s tires are a suspension part with the larger flexible sidewalls. Plus added centrifugal weight? Can’t wait to see if these will absorb the punishment of the kurbs the way current spec will.

      Definitely will make car designers work very hard. Wonder what type of new stresses low profiles will put through the drivers bodies? The Renault did look mighty good, now to make them work.

      I keep trying to envision Champions corner in Canada where they always slow-mo the cars over the kurbs, the tires take the brunt of the hit, with a low profile tire, i would expect drivers to be less aggressive or they could really launch the cars or possibly break suspension parts, those forces have to go somewhere.

      I have always heard times were expected to be slower, I guess now we will finally find out. I totally agree the tire manufacture(s) were strongly wanting this for years, but will today’s cars need a complete suspension re-design to compensate? A new wrinkle for the new rules. I for one hope this mixes up the field up a bit.

      1. You mean the cars might have to keep to the track?! That’s a novel idea. I like lol.

        1. True, changing tire profile could end up self policing the drivers to stay on track.

  2. Looks amazing as expected. So obviously they will put a wheel cover on them

    Just ask Mercedes how to do blown axles and we would all be happy yes?

  3. I find it strange that Michelin wanted to come back with these exact tyres some years ago but rebuffed. Now Pirelli is bringing those exact tyres on the same timescale? Something doesn’t smell right with that.

    1. When Pirelli took over nobody wanted to change the tyres – the teams were heavily opposed because it means a lot of what they know about the suspension goes out of the window.

      Nowadays there are no 1st tier suppliers that do NOT want to go to 18″ rims, so the FIA and Liberty put 18″ weels into the regulations and the teams weren’t able to block it anymore.

      But since the contract started this year, and the change was planned only for next year, it didn’t really make sense for Michelin to develop the current tyres for a single season. Which made it a slam dunk new contract for Pirelli.

      1. @Franton is right, money talks here.

        1. @bascb is completely right about the facts, though they might not be all there is to it.

          Pirelli had the contract already, and they (wasn’t that reported here?) politely declined an offer to extend it for a year, only to be able to then compete with Michelin on an equal basis for the followup contract from 2021, @alec-glen, @franton, so in that sense, yes, about money, or about lack of planning in f1 timelines, or perhaps a leftover of a deliberate move by Bernie to have overlapping contracts?

  4. I don’t enjoy what an F1 car looks with those bigger rims.
    Smaller rims mean beefier tyres, which look powerful and extreme.
    Whereas those large rims make the it look like your typical, corny show-off super-car.

  5. Modern F1 is a Spanish Inquisition – why not to allow teams to choose between 13 & 18 rims? Say Goodyear or Michelin go for 13″, while Pirelli and Bridgestone for 18″? The spirit of competition in F1 has been eliminated since 1989 turbo ban.

  6. I really hope the teams get a little more interesting with the colour of the wheels given the extra size. imagine yellow wheels on a Renault and White on an Alfa, or blue on a Torro Rosso. If they look more like racing cars then all the better because the liveries are lacking!

  7. Just what we need. Mercedes testing Pirelli tires for last in-season development. *throws up*, that sure will make racing entertaining when they dominate the final races.

    On separate note, 18 inch look perfect. Just enough sidewall for my liking, perfect ratio between wheel and tire. This should have been done 10 years ago.

    1. @jureo agreed they look fantastic. We will be used to them in absolutely no time.

  8. We shall have cars with proper suspension again, remember when it used to move?
    A whole new world, well actually an old one and one much used elsewhere where low profile tyres are normal.
    As someone above remarked drivers will have to stay on the track, a novel idea for most of them!

    1. 10 more years of Mercedes dominance, because they are the masters of moving suspension.

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