2026 F1 car rendering - front

FIA wanted more aggressive cut in F1 tyre sizes for 2026

Formula 1

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The smaller tyres Formula 1 will use in 2026 are still larger than the FIA wanted them to be.

The sport’s governing body announced its next set of technical regulations last week, including plans for thinner front and rear tyres. But the reduction which has been proposed – 25mm at the front and 30mm at the rear – is less aggressive than they originally aimed for.

The FIA’s single seater technical director Jan Monchaux said they chose not to make the tyres any narrower, or reduce their overall size, because of concerns they might not cope with the output from the more powerful 2026 engines, which will produce up to 1,100bhp.

“We don’t want the tyres to be a source of concern early in 2026,” he told media including RaceFans. “These new PUs which will have, for the moment at least on paper, especially in the traction phase, a massive amount of power. We simply were a little bit nervous at going much smaller.”

F1 increased the width of its wheels in 2017. Five years later it made the wheels taller, replacing the 13-inch (330mm) rims with 18-inch (457mm) versions.

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Monchaux confirmed the FIA looked at moving to smaller wheels again. “At some point there were discussions to go to 16-inch [which] could lead to some overheating issues which then would become the only topic people and teams discuss about the start of ’26.”

Esteban Ocon, Manor, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016
Current tyres are much larger than those of 2026
He conceded “the reduction on the tyres is certainly less than we would have all hoped at some point,” as a result.

“But as I mentioned, we didn’t want a too big departure from the known product, which currently we have and we are fairly happy with. We’ve got already enough changes, if you want, through the power unit, the chassis and also the aero regs, that taking other eventual risks we didn’t feel was the right choice.”

The new tyres for 2026 will therefore only be around 8% narrower than those in used today. “We are not expecting significant difference in those changes being done on the tyres with respect to general mechanical grip,” he said. “It might be a slight reduction because the tyres are smaller but it’s not a departure which is source of real concern for us.”

The FIA will give teams and F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli additional opportunities to conduct tyre testing ahead of 2026. These will begin in September and continue throughout next year.

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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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14 comments on “FIA wanted more aggressive cut in F1 tyre sizes for 2026”

  1. Those tractor-like tyres are way too tall. They distort the proportions of the car and its whole appearance.

  2. On the F1 app’s Tech Talk, it said that the 2026 tyres’ height will be slightly reduced, which was news to me. So with 18″ wheels being retained, they’re planning on having lower profile tyres. That sounds like a good step forward, as F1 sidewall heights always seem ridiculous, such that the tyres provide most of the suspension’s vertical travel range (instead of the suspension itself), creating poor ride as the tyres are effectively undamped springs.

    1. I was disappointed when the 18″ wheels were introduced together with an increase in tire diameter. That kind of defeated the purpose of the larger wheel. Hopefully this will rectify that. But I suspect they will still be larger, in diameter, than the 13″ tires used to be. Haven’t heard any actual numbers on that.

  3. I’d have thought wider tires would be better for racing as surely you want the balance to be more about mechanical grip than aero grip.

    I think it was Max Mosley once said something about how they wanted to bring in larger tires as everyone in the discussions looking at ways to create better racing agreed that the increase in mechanical grip from the tires would work well. However none of the teams would agree to go with the big reduction in aero that would have to go with it in order to keep cornering speeds within the range the FIA deemed safe at the time.

    1. “I’d have thought wider tires would be better for racing as surely you want the balance to be more about mechanical grip than aero grip.”
      No no no! You’re using a very flawed understanding of that statement. What we need is just less aero grip, period.
      Because the BALANCE that is talked about here, is NOT the balance between how much grip is being given by each of those 2 types of grip, but the balance between how strongly each type of grip affects the car.

      Imagine we narrowed F1 tyres to just 2cm – the width of a road bike tyres – so that the cars had barely any mechanical grip at all and they were sliding as if driving on ice = we lowered the grip, yes, but we exponentially increased the impact of mechanical grip (in this case it being very low) on how the cars drove and behaved on the asphalt.
      With grip being so low, the impact of aero (slipstream, turbulent air etc.) would be lessened to almost being irrelevant.
      And this is EXACTLY what happens in the rain – mechanical grip is very low, making it a much more significant factor impacting car’s behavior than aero grip. And the cars are able to overtake each other – why? – because having or not grip in turns and corners is mostly dependable on gaining or losing mechanical grip.

      F1 needs narrower tyres for better overtaking.

    2. Don’t trust Max Mosley, he was the one who introduced the grooves tyres, as a way to reduce mechanical grip, and they were good for no one!

  4. How about reducing the size of that enormous front wing?

    1. The ’26 front wing is reduced in size compared to the current one. First, the overall width of the car is reduced by 100mm, reducing the front wing by the same amount. Secondly, the endplates will be to the inside of the front tires rather than the outside. The current wings are about 1900mm wide today, plus 50mm endplate either side. If my math is right, the new ones will be about 1340mm, plus 280mm of endplate with footplate either side. I assume the endplate with footplate, just like todays endplates, will be heavily regulated to be “neutral” and not downforce generating per say. That is a ~30% reduction in wing size, assuming nothing but the width is changed.

  5. Round and round and round in circles we go….

  6. Isn’t it counter productive to reduce tyre size? A reduction in mechanical grip therefore more dependence on grip from aero?

    Also are the cars really too wide or are they actually too long?

    1. “A reduction in mechanical grip therefore more dependence on grip from aero?”
      – No. I’ve explained it in a comment above. A reduction in grip puts more dependence on mechanical grip.
      Just like in the rain – a reduction in mechanical grip makes it the more deciding factor.

      “Also are the cars really too wide or are they actually too long?”
      – The cars were never too wide. They used to be much wider (220cm until 1993) and they were great at overtaking.
      It’s the length that’s the problem. Current cars are over 1.2m longer than they were 35 years ago. The longer the car the longer distance they are apart when following each other, and it’s the large length of the cars that makes them not nimble.
      F1 tracks are 12m wide, so 10cm or even 20cm more or less in width of the cars makes absolutely no difference. And it makes zero difference if the cars are not even side by side. F1’s problem is cars not being able to get to a side-by-side position in the first place.

      1. Thanks for explaining. I think I understand what you mean but wouldn’t aero still be relied on more? Eg in the wet more downforce is better for corner speed.

        Also I’d much like to see the cars mandated to be shorter from an aesthetic pov and I guess I assumed right that it would help the racing more than width reduction

  7. FIA keeps missing the opportunity to equalize the field by making tires overheat with too much aero grip.

  8. Seann Sheriland
    14th June 2024, 21:24

    I would love to see both Michelin, and Pirelli, being allowed to compete head to head.
    May the best tires win.

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