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Pirelli can be ready for 18-inch debut in 2016

Lotus E22 gives 18-inch F1 tyres at Silverstone test 2014 2
Pirelli can be ready to supply low-profile tyres to formula one teams by 2016.

That is the claim of the Italian supplier’s F1 chief Paul Hembery, in the wake of the test of the first 18-inch prototype at Silverstone last week.

Currently, the sport’s old 13-inch standard is enshrined in the regulations, but both from an aesthetic point of view and also to bring F1 up-to-date with modern technology trends, a move to a lower profile tyre is now being considered.

But, last week, reports suggested 18-inch tyres are unlikely to feature on the grand prix grids until at least 2017.

Indeed, Hembery admitted that lower profile tyres pose a development challenge, because the current 13-inch design is more resilient and easier to handle.

“The FIA is talking about the 2017 season,” he is quoted by Russia’s f1news.ru, “and I think the decision will be made this year.

“This is a realistic time frame, but if the teams want – and we will try – then we could implement these tyres already in 2016.

“We’re going to run 18 and 19-inch with GP2 cars,” Hembery revealed, “but it will still require a lot of research.”
(GMM/Image © Lotus F1)

  • KevinW

    Makes sense IF if it improves performance, delivers better competition, and increased safety. If all it is, is blinging F1 cars with over-sized wheels and rubber band tires to follow a styling fad, it’s a stupid idea. Large diameter wheels are heavier than air and sidewall structure, while low profile tires are super sensitive to camber angle and scrub radius – with no compliance, putting all that back into the suspension, which the cars have little travel to absorb. Between this and the aero disadvantage of square shouldered tires… to support some marketing campaign at the tire store? Seriously, is this really what its all coming down to? What’s next in this relevance parade? Front wheel drive? Perhaps convertible under-floor storage space? NASCAR, a stock-car based form o racing, has played this relevance card less than F1 lately.

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