Pirelli concludes first test of 18-inch F1 tyres

2021 F1 season

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Pirelli says it covered over 200 laps of running on the first prototype of its new 18-inch tyres for the 2021 F1 season.

Formula 1’s official tyre supplier concluded a two-day test at Paul Ricard with Renault’s Sergey Sirotkin at the wheel today.

Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola said the new tyres will “change the face of Formula 1” when they are introduced after next season.

“We completed our planned programme as expected, covering 213 laps with the 18-inch tyres over two days,” said Isola. “This was very useful for us to take a first look at the new generation of tyres and start shaping the development path that we will follow for the remainder of this year and next year.

“Of course, it is hard to read too much into this test as these are still very early days, but we have accumulated all the preliminary data that we wanted in good weather conditions, so thank you very much to Renault and to Sergey for their availability.”

Pirelli also concluded its tyre development programme for the 2020 F1 season, when the current 13-inch tyre format will be used for the final time. Esteban Ocon tested the rubber in a Mercedes, covering 212 laps.

“The work consisted of assessing a range of prototype slick tyres, as we begin to finalise next year’s specification: the last season of 13-inch tyres before we move on to 18 inches in 2021.”

The 2020 tyres will now be tested by all the teams at the post-season test at Yas Marina circuit in December.

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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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  • 16 comments on “Pirelli concludes first test of 18-inch F1 tyres”

    1. The wheels look really good. I guess teams will need to really work on the suspension now there’s less rubber absorbing the curbs and bumps.

      It’ll be hard for pirelli to anticipate how the new reg 2021 cars will work with the tyres though surely.

      And a Renault covering 200+ laps, wow!

      1. The wheel looks awful, but of course tastes differ.

      2. You make a good point on the suspension. I noticed in Formulae they break easily, I hope it is just down to choosing a rubish suspension spec.

      3. It has always been my understanding F1 stayed with 13″ because it is a design element in the suspension. 13″ sidewalls have a lot of flex and travel which goes away with the new 18’s. The weight and related centrifugal forces of larger rims have always been a concern to F1 designers as well. I see a change required in driving styles too, you can’t go pounding into Canada Corner on low profile tires anymore. Today’s high sidewalls absorb forces in ways the low profiles will not. Think of any great Slow motion shot, the tires are working hard as a suspension component. Low Profiles just can’t absorb the same energy, but as we all know, it has to go somewhere. This may be the real 2021 rule the designers are losing sleep over. This will shake things up as this is not a mere bolt on part as some believe.

        1. Like in any vehicle with low profile tires, the tires are stiffer so the suspension gets softer. The benefit of 18s is a tire is an undamped spring. With the tire springing less and the suspension springing more, that spring action will be damped. The cars will bounce around less.

    2. I really do hope these wheels will be the only truly ugly* thing on mew cars.
      And this is including “standardized” atrocities.

      * I don’t say they are as ugly as certain platypus noses from some years ago -they don’t look that bad, but they don’t look even a tiny bit good either.

      18 inches is a mistake, which btw has nothing to do with road-relevance. Most of cars out there drive on 16-17 and 19 inch wheels, hilariously skipping 18 altogether.
      Why F1 couldn’t chose 17inch wheels is beyond any understanding…

      Though in the end it is F1 we talk about… rulemakers engage real thought process only sporadically, most of the time resorting to drawing up several options and throwing D20 dice… this one rolled 18…

      1. @dallein They went with 18″ because that’s what the tire suppliers asked for. Not just Pirelli but also Michelin & other’s who showed interest when the tire tender has been opened up the last 2-3 times.

        It also puts F1 in line with most of the other top categories (WEC & Formula E for instance) who are already running on 18″ tires again because that is the direction the tire suppliers want to go in.

        See my post from yesterday-

      2. The relevance is not rim size but aspect ratio. They’ve kept the same tyre circumference, while increasing the size of the rim to get the desired ratio of sidewall to tread width.

        F1 tyres are much wider than road tyres tend to be. They’ve scaled up a road tyre to that width, with the same proportions, meaning taller sidewalls in absolute terms. The shape will be the same, but one will be bigger.

        The alternative is to keep the sidewall height of road tyres, but given the extreme width of F1 tyres that means having an overall shape that is completely unlike road tyres.

    3. @dallein Well, 18 is closer to not only 17, and 19, but also 16 than it is to 13, so close enough.

    4. If only we could get some comparison shots between cars with the current tyres and this Renault with the 18-inch tyres, we could judge the aesthetics easier.

    5. Mercedes alsa had tyre test there but they didn’t show any picrtures of the car from the side with new 18″ rims.

      1. Because they were testing 2020 tyres, not the 2021 version.

    6. i think a problem with the feeder series now is that they have all started throwing gimmicks at them in order to be more about entertainment than purely about highlighting the drivers pure speed.

      in the early years of gp2 for example the cars were designed to be able to race as well as test the drivers with no artificial aids to assist them. when you were watching lewis hamilton in 2006 it was clear that he was a special talent because he was always driving those cars to the limit, demonstrating not just his pure speed but also his race craft both defending, attacking & overtaking.

      as the years have gone by they have adopted things like drs and high degredation tyres. the drs has removed some of the race craft and it’s usually far more overpowered than in f1 so drivers ar enot able to highlight the race craft as well anymore or need to think about trying to do proper overtakes.
      on top of that you have the high degredation tyres that mean its no longer about pure speed and more often than not it is the drivers that have been in the category longer who understand the tyres best that do better which is why we have drivers staying there long term now.

      they need to take the junior series back to been what they were. a more pure series aimed purely at highlighting the driver skill rather than been full of gimmicks to spice up the show because that clearly isn’t working as well as when the series was free of the gimmicks.

      i mean could we have a recovery drive like hamilton at istanbul 2006 with todays tyres? the race that pretty much cemented him as one of the best racers around. i do not think we would.

    7. The wheels look nice but people need to remember that in 2021 the wheels will have wheelcovers. I’d imagine the wheelcovers will make the tires look more chubby.

      1. in 2021 the wheels will have wheelcovers

        Woah, wait what?!? I’ve only seen the silly little winglets on top of the front wheels on the visualisations and in the tunnel tests. What covers are you talking about?

    8. It’s a real crime to ask Mercedes to test any kind of tires: They should prove to be competitive on Williams, not on the top notch team of the pack.
      It’s a real shame and the nth step toward an all Mercedes year for the 2020…again.
      When Lewis will move to another team or retire, then also the Britons will realize how boring Formula 1 has become.
      It will be just too late, though.

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