F1’s official tyre supplier says its 18-inch prototype tyres are “fully functional” and will be used for demonstration runs during the test next week using Lotus’s current car.
“The 13-inch tyre is no longer relevant to the everyday road user, because even an 18-inch tyre is used by standard vehicles these days,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery.
“While 18-inch tyres would be a big step for Formula One, there are many other motorsport series that already use this size. So there’s scope to go even bigger than that in Formula One in years to come.
“In order to underline F1’s role as a test bed for future mobility solutions, we believe that it benefits everybody to have as close a link between road car tyres and competition tyres as possible: a belief we have held ever since we introduced the low profile tyre from competition to road use back in the 1970s.
“However, we’d like to emphasise that this move is not something that we are actively pushing for, as our role in Formula One is not to instigate changes. Instead, it’s to help teams and drivers make the most out of the equipment, regulations and resources they have at their disposal – whatever they decide that framework is going to be.”
Pirelli acknowledged that moving to 18-inch tyres would mean less space for their branding on the wheel rims.
The above image is an artist’s impression of how 18-inch wheels would look on a recent F1 car.
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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo/Jeremy Hancox