Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo, 18-inch tyre test, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Pirelli shift focus of 18-inch tyre development to compounds at Kubica test

2022 F1 season

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Pirelli has largely finalised the construction of its new 18-inch tyres for the 2022 F1 season and is starting work on developing compounds at its test this week.

Robert Kubica has become the latest driver to sample their prototype rubber for next season, which will replace the 13-inch tyres being used this year. He is driving a version of the team’s C38 chassis from 2019 which has been adapted to simulate next year’s projected downforce levels.

It is the latest in a series of tests Pirelli has conducted with different teams since the season began. The tyre manufacturer’s head of motorsport and car racing Mario Isola described how their development is progressing.

“The important elements that emerged from the test in Imola with the Mercedes was that all the constructions tested gave us a result that was coherent across different cars and across different circuits,” he said.

“So we had the possibility to validate different constructions starting from Jerez to Bahrain, Imola and we are now in a situation where I would say that the construction is almost finalised. In Barcelona we start a test campaign on compounds.”

Kubica is testing one of a “new family of compounds” which is designed to offer improved driving characteristics including less overheating and degradation. However, Isola noted, “we need to keep a bit of degradation because otherwise it’s useless to bring three different compounds.”

“But in terms of targets, I am confident that we are going in the right direction,” he added.

Alpine and Red Bull are also due to test the 18-inch tyres this week.

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Pirelli 18-inch tyre test

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23 comments on “Pirelli shift focus of 18-inch tyre development to compounds at Kubica test”

  1. Of course they need to maintain some degradation, but please make it through tread wear, and not through some minute thermal window that takes over from the art of racing and makes it all about just getting tires to work first and foremost before one can do anything with one’s car. If they don’t get rid of this finicky operating window then they are throwing out much of the hard work F1 and the teams have done to get these cars racing closely, clean air independent, via ground effects and less wake, and away from ultra sensitive wings and carbon bits, and cars intentionally making dirty air. Surely that message has been pounded into Pirelli by Brawn, one would hope and expect. Deg…sure…but make it the right kind of deg this time.

    1. I don’t know, it is the same for all, and part of it is the teams have to build a car that works with the tyres too. It still looks fast in nbtv and makes the drivers have to work for their living. No good having them all driving with no grip issues, especially in a non chassis spec series

    2. No, the FIA and Liberty are still demanding magical failing tires with nutty thermal windows.

      1. grat And you know that how?

  2. That car looks great from side angle. I still don’t get why they need to waste money to change to bigger wheels. I do not see the road car relevance on a single seater. When they went to wider tyres it made the cars look a bit better especially since the cars are getting bigger, but what is the actual reasoning for bigger rims??

    1. It is primarily creating a marketing link by creating an aesthetic link with the sort of wheels that the tyre manufacturers want to promote. It should be noted it is not specific to Pirelli either, with Michelin having also indicated, when they bid for the supply contract in the past, that they wanted to make the same aesthetic changes for the same reason.

      1. I thought it was also because Pirelli were one of the only companies with the infrastructure to build 13″ rubber in the sizes needed. I recall Michellin and others not being prepared to apply for the tyre tender if they were 13″

  3. I wish they kept deep rims. That rear wheel on the cover picture hurts my eyes.

    1. @f1mre Interesting observation. I notice that it is not there on most of the other shots though. So here’s a total speculation on my part. Perhaps the new cars may have these covers on the rears as a measure to help mitigate wake behind a car, or drag for the car itself. Perhaps these covers make for less turbulence in other words. Perhaps they are testing both with the cover on and off to see what that does to tire and brake temps, perhaps even car stability. As I say, total speculation on my part, and good eye on your part.

      1. @robbie the 2022 regulation package specifies the use of wheel covers as a Prescribed Design Component (PDC) – in other words, the FIA specify a standard design that must be used – as part of a package of prescribed design components for the braking system.

        The covers are meant to be about controlling the airflow through the braking system, and ties into the use of other PDC’s – it’s partially to help those other PDC’s function, and partially with the objective of slightly reducing the wake of the cars by controlling how the air exits the braking system.

      2. @robbie The showcase photos of 2022 cars have wheel rim covers.

        I’ve found an article about banning those before the 2010 season. The reason was:

        the covers have “quite an adverse effect on the following car”.

        But why are they re-allowing them?

        1. Different purpose. The covers in 2010 were used to help blast the brake cooling duct outflow outboard of the car to pull the wheel wakes outwards (the front brakes especially) and improve airflow towards the floor and diffuser. The 2022 covers completely seal to the wheel so no airflow can pass through – result is brake duct flow has to exit inboard and wake should remain nice and narrow so following should be easier.

        2. @f1mre Well that’s very interesting. Certainly if these covers indeed make it harder for cars to follow then I don’t expect to see them on the new cars. As to why they are on Kubica’s test car, I cannot say but certainly they are not always on it, and as well this is not a 2022 car. They are obviously doing R&D.

          The only reason I assumed they possibly made less turbulence was because of their smoothness and that it reminded me of electric cars and sometimes semi transport trucks that use them for better fuel efficiency. I wonder if there is a chance that if they were to be used next year onward it would be for fuel efficiency, and if indeed they ‘make cars harder to follow’ they don’t add all that much problem especially when they have taken other much more powerful measures to ensure trailing cars are far less negatively affected in dirty air, such as the winglets above the front tires, the wings more basic and less sensitive to dirty air, and the rear wing and diffuser that will work to send their turbulence overtop of the trailing car.

        3. I believe that the tire covers in 2010 were part of the “outwash” philosophy that was taking over.

          Now, I think the idea is that they’re to minimize disruption coming off the wheel wells.

  4. RandomMallard (@)
    11th May 2021, 18:05

    Am I the only one who likes these? I think they at least don’t look bad on the current cars, and with the rest of the aesthetic changes coming next year I reckon we won’t notice the difference within a couple of races. A bit like the halo turned out to be.

    1. @randommallard Agree. I have liked them from day one of their appearance on an F1 car. I think the new cars are going to look amazing.

    2. Apart from you and Robbie?
      Yes, the only one.

      I find these wheels awfully ugly. No aesthetics at all.

    3. @randommallard @robbie I find the 18-inch rim size nice looking too.

    4. The wheel size is fine – but the wheel design is a bit ordinary and wheel covers look ghastly.

  5. Looks ugly. As expected.
    And I expect zero improvements in compounds – will be the same unstable mess.

    F1 should have dropped this incompetent company.

    1. You mean that F1 should drop their design goals for the tyres, and let Pirelli make tyres they they prefer, and would be more happy to promote and market their company with…

      1. No, F1 should ban Pirelli from participating in FIA sanctioned races for the next 25 years.

        And after that – get a proper Tyre manufacturer. And definitely not with 18inch rims.

        1. Pirelli aren’t the problem, and never have been.

          Who do you suggest is a ‘proper’ manufacturer? And what evidence can you provide that they’d do a ‘better’ job with the current cars?
          Cooper/Avon is perhaps the only manufacturer making tyres for F1 cars other than Pirelli – and that’s been the case since 2011.
          F1 cars have changed a lot in that time… But F1’s demands of their supplier haven’t changed much.

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