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Concept 18-inch F1 tires prove challenging at Silverstone

Jul 11, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

F1 Testing At Silverstone - Day Two Getty Images

Lotus test driver Charles Pic has called Pirelli’s concept 18-inch rim F1 tires “a challenge” as they enjoyed their first run during the post-British GP test earlier this week.

Pirelli confirmed over the race weekend at Silverstone that it would be piloting the tires on Wednesday in an attempt to make Formula 1 more road relevant. 18-inch rims are common in other racing series, but F1 tires have rims some five inches smaller.

Pic put in 14 laps for Lotus using the tires, and did not understate the challenge that they posed during this initial run.

“I think if we go one day to this type of tire it will be a big challenge,” Pic explained. “First for the team because they will have to build a completely new car around this because the philosophy is completely different and you would need to build all the car around this type of tire. I think it will also be a challenge for the driver because they are completely different.

“On the looks side it’s looking for sure different, so I think some people will like them and some people not.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was pleased with how the tires looked on the Lotus, and felt that the first test had been a successful one.

“In our view, the new tires looked stunning fitted to the Lotus, and the reaction has already been felt all over the world,” Hembery explained. “These are just a prototype concept, but if the teams decided that they wanted us to proceed in this direction, we have the capability to carry on development in this area and come up with a production-ready version in a comparatively short space of time.

“We’ve heard a lot of opinions already and we look forward to canvassing other opinions in the coming weeks and months.”

The tires could be introduced as early as 2016, but the change would require unanimous approval from the teams to be ratified and given the green light.

  1. techmeister1 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    There is no doubt that it makes better business sense for Pirelli to spend their R & D money developing 18″ tires for F1 than 13″ tires that have no relation to any other form of motorsports. The question is will the F1 teams bite the bullet and go along and consider it a new opportunity/challenge? Ferrari did a poll and the fans who responded overwhelmingly preferred the 18″ tire/wheel combo.

  2. kitnamania13 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    An 18″ tire will make it harder to identify which cars are on what compound during the race. On the other hand, we would see more from the braking.

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