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F1 moves to fill tyre vacuum
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Apr 2010   |  9:41 am GMT  |  142 comments

There has been quite a bit of movement in recent weeks regarding the acquisition of a new tyre supplier for next season.

Bridgestone have announced their intention to pull out and despite lengthy negotiations, revolving around them being paid to supply tyres and also receiving added value from other PR activities, it seems that they are inclined to stick to that position.

(Darren Heath)


Michelin entered the frame with a radical proposal to change the wheel rim size and open the competition up to other suppliers – to reintroduce an element of competition.

This got Cooper Avon and more recently Pirelli interested in looking again at F1. When I spoke to Pirelli before Christmas they said that it was unlikely that they would do it, but the proposed change to an 18″ rim from the current 13″, seems to have sparked their interest. This makes for a more relevant tyre for all the manufacturers, something more akin to what they use in other competitions and closer in resemblance to a road tyre. It is cheaper and more green.

Also if F1 were to commit to moving to the 18″ rims it would open the sport up to a greater number of potential suppliers and reduce the risk of being stuck or forced into poor commercial conditions, as has happened since the sport went to the single control tyre.

” There’s nothing yet, and it’s not a small task, but there is something worth evaluating, ” said the Pirelli president Marco Provera on Wednesday.

Since Michelin proposed the idea, for which it is looking for a payment of around £50 million, the arrival on the scene of Avon and Pirelli, potentially doing the job for less has changed the game. It weakens Michelin’s bargaining position slightly. Pirelli has long links to Bernie Ecclestone, who wants to put F1 in as strong position as possible.

It’s quite a step backwards for the sport to go from teams getting a free supply of tyres and the tyre supplier also spending a lot of money on its activation programme around the F1 involvement, to all the teams having to pay for their tyres. Bridgestone have been investing $100 million a year. A sport on F1′s level shouldn’t really have to do that, it should have tyre suppliers falling over themselves to have the F1 endorsement.

The sport itself, rather than the teams, could pay for the tyres, without which the cars won’t work, either in cash or part cash, with contra deals for trackside advertising, but somehow it is hard to imagine that happening.

However there are many positives from the potential switch to more road relevant tyres. For a start it is something new and presents fresh challenges. Speaking to some of the F1 engineers, their feeling is that ironically the low profile tyre will give a lot less grip than the current tyres, which will look like balloons in comparison. This would probably help with overtaking. The likelihood is that it will probably save some fuel, which is a useful environmental story. It is quite exciting for the designers as it will give some performance back via better suspension design.

Furthermore if the teams could increase the size of the brake discs they could save a lot
of cost longer term.

It is already quite late for making a decision on suppliers for 2011, but if the move to 18″ is to go ahead it needs to be made very soon, as the cars will have to be redesigned quite significantly. The suspension and particularly the aerodynamics change quite significantly. Pirelli have indicated that 2012 might be a more sensible date to bring the change in.

The next few weeks will be quite telling.

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142 Comments
  1. Nicollers says:

    Is the reason for companies like Pirelli etc, not up for F1 down to rim size then James? To me, it’s a good marketing opportunity for these other tyre manufacturers to be associated with F1. I’d never thought of it like this before, i.e. it would cost them a lot to make tyres a specific size….

    1. russ parkin says:

      as an uneducated person on this i would assume there is no place in the real world for 13 inch rims with probably 20 inch tyres? the sidewalls must have to be so strong it is probably expensive to manufacture. where as a 20 inch tyre on a 18 inch rim only has a small sidewall so less suppoert is based here. as an extreme example think if you went to quick fit to get tyres for your punto or for a drag racer your probably talking 20 quid a pop for the punto and thousands for the drag racer. however the grip is i suppose imense on the fat high sidewalled tyre. again i am more than happy to be corrected here x

  2. Dan says:

    “A sport on F1’s level shouldn’t really have to do that, it should have tyre suppliers falling over themselves to have the F1 endorsement.”

    if there’s one thing that this economic crunch has taught us, it’s that nothing is priceless or worth that much. As fans, we may feel sentimental about F1. But the overblown sense of ego that leads to the above statement is what ruins empires.

    It’s a sense of entitlement that has no place in today’s world.

    1. F1 Kitteh says:

      Totally agreed. This conclusion was inevitable as soon as Bridgestone made the initial announcement. You could see how this was played very poorly by F1 and Mr E as they failed to realize that the tables have turned against them from that moment on. They probably took their hubris to the other makers and offered them the fantastic opportunity to blow millions a year to supply the tyres for F1 and then blow more millions in advertising to tell the world you had the privilege. Of course all they needed to do was to politely say ‘thanks but not thanks’. What F1 should have done was lower the investment offered something tangible in return (money or contra deals like James said), so that the deal is more or less fair. Good on the tyre makers to call the bluff and catch Mr E with his pants down for once.

    2. Gilles says:

      Indeed

  3. Dicko says:

    18 inch rims in F1. How long before we see the Ferrari rock up to the grid on a blingin set of spinners…

    Joking aside I, given how little suspension travel the F1 cars have, the tyres current soak up a lot of the impact. Riding on 18′s and some skinny rubber isn’t that going to make it bone jarring? The cars will shake themselves apart with vibration.

    1. neil murgatroyd says:

      spinners are banned :S

    2. Michael Brown says:

      Obviously the suspension setup for 18″ rims will have to be totally redesigned, but it will mean that the stiffness of the suspension can me more accurately controlled, leading to setups better suited to each track and conditions.

    3. Spenny says:

      Clearly, with a change of tyres comes the need to completely re-engineer the suspension.

      It is potentially as significant a design change as the wing changes, but the teams will know a great deal about how the 18″ wheels work from contact with other racing series.

      The current tyre is a major component of the suspension, too much in my view, and transferring the control of the suspension back into the engineering of the car rather than the tyre will give the designers a lot more control over how their cars handle. I’d suggest that it would play to McLaren who have a long tradition of being very good on suspension design.

      So, these cars are already bone-shakers. They will have a need to soften the suspension and increase its travel. We could see some interesting innovations too, and the teams will be pouring over the rule book to think about the changes they could make.

    4. SKWD says:

      I think that’s rather the point of one section of James’ post!

      At the moment, the majority of “suspension” movement comes from the tyres; it is the same for all teams, and the struggle is to make the best of it, nothing more.

      With a stiffer, lower-profile tyre, the car’s suspension has the opportunity to provide the required degree of compliance, but to do so on the designer’s terms.

      That re-introduces an element of competition between rival designers, and (to an extent) re-focusses attention upon suspension design rather than (merely) aero optimisation.

      All in all a good thing, especially coupled with the attendant increase in brake sizes.

    5. Alex says:

      The new suspension systems will be designed to compensate and will have a greater role in absorbing surface irregularities.

    6. Brian says:

      I would think a tire that can handle 5 G’s lateral without much slip angle is pretty darn stiff already!

  4. PaulL says:

    Any chance we’ll be able to get smaller & higher front wings as well as lower & wider rear wings for 2011?

  5. Stephen Hopkinson says:

    Interesting to hear the low profile tyres would give less grip. Any insight into why that might be?

    1. neil murgatroyd says:

      the tyre can’t deform as much so the contact patch is smaller…

      1. Martin says:

        Neil,

        the contact patch will only be smaller if the tyre pressures are greater. The deformation bit is key though as the angular deformation is less so there is less heat build and hence the rubber can be softer.

    2. Henry says:

      Because the side walls will have to be stiffer, and there will be less play in the tyre, by that I mean the tyre wont do as much work to absorb changes in the surface as it does now. So there will be less mechanical grip because they will have less traction. There may be other reasons also, but those present themselves to me first.

    3. Martin says:

      Hi Stephen,

      The key to grip is the tyre compound and getting that compound to run at the right temperature. A wider tyres (not that this is being discussed) would have the same contact area as a narrower one if the tyre pressures are the same (being slicks the tread pattern is identical). The wider tyre needs to deform less to create its contact patch (wide and short versus narrow and long). This generates less heat. With a low profile tyre, the deformation is spread over a shorter distance, so it generates more heat as the tyre rolls.

      Cheers,

      Martin

      1. RickeeBoy says:

        Martin

        I have to disagree with your last sentence.

        (Irrespective of width) A lower profile tyre with a smaller contact patch will have less angle of deformation therefore less heat
        ( This presumes the low profile is running a higher pressure so the contact area is less. )

        Rickeee

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Rickeee,

        I think I may get the last shot at this reply, so feel free to respond to the first comment again.

        If we assume two tyres have the same external diameter and the same width, but use different diameter wheels, then we have a simple case of profile variation that Michelin is/was talking about. If the tyre pressures are the same then the contact patch area would be the same. As the width is equal, so is the front to rear distance. Looking at the tyre from the side, you would see that the lower profile tyre has absorb the contact area creating distortion through a shorter distance (which leads to a greater angular deflection from the unloaded tyre). As the tyre rolls this creates more heat than in a higher profile tyre.

        To reduce this distortion the contact area would need to be reduced. To do this the tyre pressure would need to increase. The contact area combined with the softness is the key to grip as tyres don’t follow a simple physics textbook definition of friction.

        Your claim would be dependent on increasing the pressure beyond a certain level to minimise distortion. There would be less heat build-up but also rather less performance than could be achieved.

        Martin

  6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    18″ rims…sounds a little funny? Will we see polished, mirror, finished or ones that spin around on the starting grid?!

    Surely larger rims would also imply a change in gear box design and ratios?

    1. Spenny says:

      The larger rims could still end up with the same diameter tyre on the road, so there is not necessarily an issue there. However, the smaller side wall will presumably transmit more shock through to the gearbox, so there could be issues for gearbox loads and reliability.

    2. Alex says:

      Surely larger rims would also imply a change in gear box design and ratios?

      Not if the overall tire diameter remains the same.

    3. Knuckles says:

      I see this comment all the time and I don’t get it. F1 is the only racing series with balloon tyres, every other performance car on the planet has low-profile ones.

  7. Henry says:

    I think I read somewhere that Newey for one is opposed to the change in wheel size, mainly because he says it will force all the teams to drastically redesign their suspension, which would take a large amount of time and cost a very large amount.

    However I can see that for the tyre manufacturers it seems very sensible, and also any chance of decreasing the mechanical grip of the cars would be welcomed.

    1. Dharsh says:

      “any chance of decreasing the mechanical grip of the cars would be welcomed”

      This is completely the opposite of what is needed. Mechanical grip is what the cars need more and aero grip is what they need less of and then we get more overtaking.

      Mechanical grip is not affected by following closely behind another car, aero grip is.

      1. Les says:

        Dead right

      2. krad says:

        Did you not read the article james put up a few weeks ago?

      3. Les says:

        I did and was not convinced by it. If a car can be 2 1/2 seconds a lap faster using the same racing line, then be unable to keep up with the slower car round a corner ON THE SAME RACING LINE it is because of loss of aero grip; then there is no chance to use the speed advantage because you had to drop back, maybe even out of the slipstream. All you will ever do is use the straights to catch back up before you lose it all again at the next corner.

        There is an argument that having more mechanical grip due to the possibility of keeping it together off line to make moves in unconventional places, but frankly any marbles and debris lying around will affect that and negate it. Current levels of mechanical grip are OK for me, just limit the aero.

        By the way, is it just me, or was I mistaken in thinking that the rule changes to the front wings were supposed to simplify them? Now, there’s all sorts of dual foils, turning vanes, ducts, holes etc so they look at least as complicated as the ones they replaced…but bigger. One step forward, two back?

      4. Trent says:

        I’m with Les – as knowledgable as someone like Frank Dernie is, his evidence just didn’t convince me. As outlined above, there are entirely different reasons why the racing is better under damp or wet conditions and it does not imply that lower mechanical grip is the answer to the overtaking dilemma.

        I really respect the guy but it very much seemed like he was cherry picking evidence to suit the argument.

      5. k9major says:

        We’ve had this less aero/more mechanical grip mantra floating around for some years now. Haven’t the last three races shown that cars can follow each other closely under the current aero rules, and that arriving at a corner with less mechanical grip (because of the wet conditions) has produced more overtaking? For my money, we’ve seen racing where the driver has been able to make a difference, and isn’t that what we all want to see?

      6. Kalle says:

        So in rain races, do you agree there is more overtaking, or less overtaking? If you agree more overtaking what is the differentiating factor? LESS mechanical grip! The aero isn’t affected by rain!

      7. malcolm.strachan says:

        You’re ignoring the power-to-traction ratio, and how that makes the car more difficult to drive. It’s not as simple as you are making it.

      8. Kalle says:

        I’m making it just as simple as the people who claim less aero automagically gives more overtaking.

    2. malcolm.strachan says:

      Right, because the move to grooved tires was such a huge success… :-/

    3. Paul Kirk says:

      Thats [mod], Henry! In my view mechanical grip percentage should be INCREASED, and reliance on aero should be REDUCED, and percentage-wise I’d like to see more ground-efects and less wing-efects. This would improve close following through high speed corners, slipsteamimg,and passing!
      PK.

  8. Darren says:

    would love to see avon in f1,in fact any tire company who want to sign up to a team should be able to, or the team can make thier own, Williams f1 tires, virgin rubber (sorry) etc.

  9. Stephen Pattenden says:

    Interesting and informative insight as ever James, thanks.

    I personally believe that the re-introduction of tyre competition would really spice things up in F1, especially if a move to 18″ rims increases the possibility to overtake which F1 is quick to forget about when we have three wet weekends in a row.

    Cheers.

  10. TM says:

    James

    Sorry i might be being dense! Why would larger brake discs mean a lot of cost saving? Just because they would use less of them?

    Thanks!

    1. Michael Brown says:

      Larger brake discs save money because the bigger the disc, the easier it is to get the same braking effort (larger surface area), so you have to spend less on exotic materials etc. and the discs wouldn’t wear out as quickly.

    2. Pat M says:

      I think a big part of it would be the design constraints. With the space for a much larger disc surface there is less stress on the brake components in terms of friction levels needed between pad and disc, as well as better heat dissipation and less need to fit the caliper into a tiny space. Overall, with more space available all the design limitations open up and components don’t need to be at the extremes of component design to get the same braking performance.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        Exactly. You only need as much brake as is required to lock the wheels. Anything beyond that is merely for reliability and longevity. It’s not like bigger brakes will make the cars stop faster.

      2. kristian says:

        Hazy premonitions of 10 meter braking zones from 17 inch brake discs and vacuums in helmets to keep drivers’ eyes from popping out. Sounds good!

      3. Les says:

        Oh, great, another chance to reduce the opportunity to overtake.

        Dumb down the brakes, make them from ‘conventional materials’ and lenghthen the braking distance, this will make the better drivers who are better able to threshold brake a chance to get by those who can’t

  11. Torrent says:

    James would you please explain to us the difference between 13′ and 18′ tyres in a technical post with some drawings.
    I don’t really understand why and how there’s such a differnce between both specs>.

    Thanks.

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      Basic breakdown:
      -13″ tires allow for much more sidewall flex, and the cars use that as the majority of the suspension. That’s why when teams would switch from Bridgestone to Michelin (or vice versa), they would suddenly gain or lose time.
      -18″ tires would have much less sidewall flex, and therefore more effort would have to be put in to making the suspension work properly (spring rates, dampening, etc).

      Simply speaking, there is spring rate (just the rate of the spring), wheel rate (the rate of the spring, but taking suspension geometry into account) and finally ride rate (the rate of the spring, taking suspension geometry into account, plus the suspension characteristics of the tire itself). Since ride rate is the only one that really matters, if you change the tire drastically, you will have a major effect on how the suspension works.

    2. Knuckles says:

      With 13″ wheels rims the very high tyre shoulder flexes a lot, and the details of this flex are very hard to model during car design. Controlling the flex well, however, has a large effect on suspension quality, tyre warm-up, and even aerodynamics. Most of the valuable warm-up that penetrates deep into the tyre comes from this flexing work, not from friction of the tyre’s surface on the tarmac.

      Some feel, me included, that this puts too much emphasis on coming to terms with a part that the F1 team has no control over.

      With 18″ wheels, the shoulder flexes much less because there simple is a much smaller amount of rubber. Consequently, changing conditions for the tyre (load, etc.) deform it less, and these effects should diminish.

    3. k9major says:

      James is referring to the size of the rim, and by extension, the aspect ratio of the tyre. Current F1 tyres are like truck tyres in this respect.

  12. Ben G says:

    F1 needs a tyre that is specifically made to aid racing and overtaking.

  13. Mike Cooper says:

    Hi James,

    First time I’ve commented, generally like what you do, always check up to see what you’ve heard about stuff. I’m sure there’s so much you can’t share.

    The piece above caught my eye for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, the changes to 18″ wheels sounds like a VERY expensive exercise, in these restrained times, surely it’s cheaper for everyone to chip in with some cash for Bridgestone, rather than develop new suspension etc AND pay for tyres.

    Secondly, can’t agree that less grip from tyres will help overtaking. I know you’ve shared Frank Dernies views on this, but just can’t see this making passing easier in the dry. There’s more to overtaking being easier in the damp/wet than simply less overall grip, if we are serious about easier overtaking, why not more mechanical grip, less aero.

    I’ve long though that having a max surface area for the car, less tyres, would be an interesting avenue for research. I know we’ve lost some of the add-ons, but there’s still loads of extra little tweaky bits. Give them a budget of surface to work with, and within limits on width, height, open wheels etc, everything else is free. Say measure a current car minus all flip ups endplates, mirror mounts, multi elements, then thats the budget.

    What do you think?

    Cheers,

    Mike

    1. Gilles says:

      I agree on your first remark: there’s enough money made from F1 to pay Bridgestone. Money FOTA would like to pocket themselves, but you can’t have it all can you ?
      As changing the wheel rims would be more for 2012, I expect this to be very much the compromise solution for 2011.
      Concerning your second remark: are you advocating the return of wing cars ? I disagree with Dernie as well, we simply need downforce which is not dependent on the proximity to another car. Statements on overall downforce are a bit beside the point.

      1. Mike Cooper says:

        Good point, part of the framework would have to be keep flat bottoms, I think we need less critical aero packages that also have less overall down force coupled with more mechanical grip. I know the engineers will cry it’s dumbing down the sport, but that’s the key isn’t it, it’s a sport and the joy of sport is it can be so compelling. I worry that if we have another dry quali/race, we’ll be back in Bahrain. Gone a bit off topic I know but JA’s comment on bigger wheels making overtaking easier started this for me .

    2. Knuckles says:

      Cool idea with the surface area, though I can’t really wrap my head around what it would mean in practice.

      I’d love to see this, ideally combined with flow rate-controlled engines: give them x kg of fuel per lap and other than that anything goes for the engine. Possibly allow for fuel that is saved on one lap to be used (maybe only partially) in the next y laps.

      Flow rate control would limit fuel consumption and power without giving rise to tedious fuel-saving exercises during GP finishes as we’ve seen so many when the maximum amount of fuel was prescribed. If the cars become too powerful, reduce the flow rate.

      1. Les says:

        if you limit flow rate, you cannot save fuel for the next lap because the flow rate is capped, but I understand what you are trying to get across – the ‘cleverest’ use of the fuel. But essentially that is what we have at the moment – they can alter the mix to do exactly that.

      2. Knuckles says:

        The standard ECU or a device with a similar effect (as standard ECUs as such would become infeasible if “anything goes” with the engine) could allow an increase in flow rate in one lap for a given amount saved on a previous lap. But maybe this is going over the top.

        Maybe you are right that the no-refuelling rule plus engine management has a similar effect already. I am still stuck in the refuelling days where fuel consumption was essentially unlimited.

        However, the simple no-refuelling rule would not work with an “anything goes” engine, because FIA would be forced to limit max fuel capacity (if it isn’t already, I’m not sure) for safety reasons. And then you’d be back to cars running on fuel-save mode for last 15 laps. It also does not allow to effectively limit power output per fuel consumption. A flow rate that is (more or less) constant per lap avoids both of these limitations.

  14. George says:

    Multiple tire suppliers in an era w/o refueling stops would certainly add to the drama of the race, especially if they adopt different construction philosophies. For all thew talk of road-relevance, 18″ rims would certainly be a step in that direction. I have 18″ rims on my car, I don’t have carbon brakes, KERS, an f-duct, wings, or carbon fiber of any kind.

    1. Gilles says:

      In a new tire war, the tire manufacturers will probably pick one team of preference again, to which car they can then tailor their developments … 05/06 revisited
      I subscribe to the arguments that F1 doesn’t need a new tire war.

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        The problem with a single supplier is that we’ve gotten tires that haven’t worked very well for anyone. I don’t think Bridgestone has delivered anything more than passably workable tires, causing all sorts of problems for most teams. A cost limited tire competition might serve F1′s needs better.

      2. Gilles says:

        A competition is never cost limited – everybody wants to win and spend accordingly.
        The tires don’t need to work for everyone, they shouldn’t favor one over the other. It’s the reverse actually: if your car punishes the given tires too much, you will redesign and actually design in the same direction as the others – same as DDDs.

  15. Jim says:

    Happy with the 18 inch rim idea, would shake things up again, not happy with multiple tyre supplier again. The tyres make too big a difference to the performance of the cars. It was daft last time with 2 suppliers, all the talk was about tyres, not man and machine in perfect harmony, as I think it ought to be…

    1. Henry says:

      I do rather agree, it brings in one too many variables, one too many things which could make a team dominant to the point where the sport looses all excitement.

    2. Zobra Wambleska says:

      Following this line of reasoning to its ultimate conclusion would give us a single supplier spec car, is that what you want? F1 is about competition and tires should be part of that mix just as much as engines and suspension components.

      1. Hamster says:

        Previously in the tyre war eira, there was copious amounts of testing to evaluate,understand and improve the tyres. This of course is now banned in the interest of reducing costs. Often the tyre would dictate who won the race, irrespective of who had the better car. Do we really want racing based on who has the better tyre or which team has designed and developed the better car? Its an extra variable that isn’t needed. The competition should remain between the teams and their cars, not the tyres.

      2. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Yes, but it’s impossible to separate out the tires, they are a part of the car after all. As long as testing is restricted the tire war shouldn’t get out of hand and a cost cap should keep the competition in a more narrowly defined band that could actually enhance the racing.

  16. michael grievson says:

    How can f1 tyres relate to road tyres? F1 tyres are designed to last less than 100 miles. Road tyres are designed to last 1000s of miles. Unless f1 tyres are designed to last 1000s of miles I fail to see any corrolation.

    1. Torrent says:

      I totally agree, I don’t think there’s any correlation possible between road and race tyres.
      The only races where such a correlation is possible is Dakar rally where tyres are hugely loaded under huge tempuratures and for a whole stage which might last around 1000km and event then it is far from what is required from a road car.

    2. malcolm.strachan says:

      You’re right insofar as the compound is concerned; however, much can be learned in the construction of the tire, applying new materials and techniques to produce a lighter, stronger tire.

      Given that, if Company X develops something new and advanced in terms of tire construction, they could certainly apply that to the road.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        In addition to that, advanced that are made in tread-patterns for racing in the rain could certainly apply to road tire design.

    3. k9major says:

      The correalation between road and race tyres is likely to be mostly in the way they look, rather than the way they perform. An F1 branded tyre for your road car? Sounds like a marketing opportunity to me.

  17. Tom says:

    This is certainly an interesting development, the effect of which will be far greater than most assume. Tyre stiffness and compound are the most important factors in translating the downforce from the aerodynamics into cornering performance so changing supplier, let alone size and shape will have a large effect on the both the absolute and relative performance of the teams.

    Another benefit (in my opinion) is that it might swing the design balance a little away from aero more and towards suspension design as the larger rims will provide greater packaging space for interesting suspension geometry layouts. Furthermore the reduced tyre profile will most likely (somewhat) reduce the reliance on tyre design for suspension system performance.

    I say bring in the change for 2011 and see what the teams can come up with in the short time available.

    1. Gilles says:

      RB seems to have the advantage then, considering their specific suspension layout…
      Interesting point about the dependency on tires vs better suspension, a new challenge for the engineers !

  18. Olivier says:

    Who could’ve imagined that the issues of overtaking, the environment and the tyre supplier could be solved by such a simple solution?

    Thank you Michelin :) I am really looking forward to Michelin vs Avon vs Bridgestone vs Pirelli!

    As a bonus, the cars will be slimmer/sleeker (greener) with state of the art and road relevant technologies. BMW, Toyota and VW will be very very tempted to this new formula.

  19. gond says:

    Hi, does anybody have a rendering of how the cars would look like with an 18inch wheel?

      1. gond says:

        Thanks mate, the “terrible-ms-paint” gives me a pretty good idea. I just couldnt picture the current cars with the old school tyres…

  20. Robert McKay says:

    As long as whoever comes in (which it seems likely to me will be the tyre company demanding the least money from the teams) drops the silly green stripe and forcing you to run both option and prime compounds I’ll be happy.

    Ideally I’d like to see the tyre company bringing 3 or 4 compounds to every race and just letting the teams get on with deciding what to run. I know this is expensive, in relative terms, but I think this would benefit the no-refuelling formula and give a bigger element of tyre strategy.

    The option/prime rule we have at the moment rather scuppers much variation in this…which is another good reason why wet races are helpful in removing this requirement.

  21. NA says:

    I would very much welcome a change to a larger diameter wheel, as I’ve always thought the current 13″ wheels and high-profile tires look dorky.

  22. Darren says:

    im getting a bit sick of this green issues make F1 greener, what a load of cr*p, i watch F1 for the speed, the scream of engines, not hippy rubbish leave f1 alone tree huggers.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      I’m inclined to agree, Darren. Dosent matter how “green” they make the cars, the planes transporting the “circus” to the races and back use many times the fuel and create much more emissions than the cars. And now they’re talking about increasing the races to 25!!!!!
      PK.

    2. Jake Cooper, Australia says:

      That’s a terrible thing to say mate. Environmental issue is the biggest issue going around these days politically. It’s not just trees, there are incredible amount of animals and countries are in danger because of the pollution created by human every year. Countries like Chile could disappear from the map as it is losing more lands every year. Every little thing makes a big difference to contribute towards the welfare of the environment. F1 is just part of all those little things. The farmer near Barcelona circuit won a lawsuit last year because his cows stopped producing milk as an affect from the noises and pollution created by the cars. Every year the icebergs in Antarctica, Alaska & other places are melting more than the previous year. That’s causing extinction of various animals as well as trees. Iceland’s volcano explosion is the result of the environmental pollution. The whole is the Ozone layer is getting bigger as well. That is causing the increase of global temperature. As a result of that the whole world is getting affected. F1 is part of all that.

      I love F1 from the bottom of my heart ever since I was born as far I can remember. Doesn’t matter how many controversies there are in this sport we all still in love with the sport at the end of the day. Part of the reason is the technologies and the speed and the aerodynamics of these cars are just beyond any other sport. However, the reality is F1 is one of the most environmentally damaging sports. As we admire the ingenious of the engineer so much when they come up with ‘F-Duct of McLaren’ or ‘Wheels of Ferrari’, it is their responsibility to come up with something makes this sport environmentally friendlier as the time goes on and still not lose the thrills of the races. Now the other transport system may cause hell of a lot more pollutions than F1, but it doesn’t mean that F1 should stop its input to the welfare of the environment and the world in general. As I mentioned earlier, every single thing counts when it comes to environment.

      1. Paul Kirk says:

        Shiver me timbers, Jake, the greenies have really got you fired up/hoodwinked! Do you really think people can stop the inevitable changes in global temperatures? History tells us it’s been happening since the formation of the globe, so the chances of us altering the course of nature is rather unlikely!
        PK.

  23. Chris Neale says:

    Hi James
    I recon one of the main problems in F1 is that the tyres are too good and that less grip from the tyres would be beneficial. I believe you have also expounded the benefits of this before. However no manufacturer is going to want to be associated with supplying tyres that appear in lacking any way so would not be interested in making available tyres to harder/less grippy compounds. An answer to this would be for Bernie to dip his hand in his pocket and fund the construction of tyres to an agreed specification, manufacture them unbranded and sell them on to the teams at a price to cover costs and on a ‘there’s your tyres now get on with it basis’.Getting rid of the two-compound per race idea would reduce costs as it would no longer be seen as necessary. You would have 3 tyre types – say F1 slick, inter and wet – and that would be it.

  24. Michael Brown says:

    I’m all in favour of the move to 18″ rims, for many reasons (looks, road car relevance etc), but I’m not really happy about the prospect of a tyre war. The difference that tyres can make is more than all the other variables (chassis, engine, driver) combined, so if you’re on the “wrong” tyres it doesn’t matter if you have the best car, engine and driver combo because you won’t win races. The only way a tyre manufacturer could try and improve their tyres would be with huge amounts of very expensive testing, which would drive up the costs astronomically.

    1. Pat M says:

      Suppose we could have a tyre war that was fought on the track rather than in the board room? What if FOTA kicked in 100 million and a pool of tyres from all manufacturers were brought to each race. Instead of a contract for the year, the teams could select the tyres that worked best with their car in any given conditions on any weekend. At the end of the season the tyre makers would be paid in proportion to the number of times teams selected their tyres.

  25. Jake Cooper, Australia says:

    Well I have been posting comments about the tyre issue on this blog since the end of last year. I remember James you saying that Pirelli is unlikely to do it. Somebody even mentioned ‘Dunlop’ as I recall. Now the move to 18” is interests several new suppliers makes a whole new ball game. Personally I don’t think the move to 18” should be happening in 2011. From previous tyre war experience in F1 we all know that tyres also behave very differently in different cars. It also behaves differently in different cars. Bridgestone has been involved with Ferrari for very long time. Renault was suited to the Michelin tyres perfectly when they won back to back world championship. I think it is good for the sport. Fans surely miss having the thrill of tyre wars. Certainly we don’t want the repeat of 2005 US grand prix, but I’d love to see more than one tyre suppliers in F1.

    Question for you James, is there any chance that the mandatory use of different compound tyres will be withdrawn or changed if there is more than one tyre supplier in F1?

    Now the other issue is of course cost. As much as I’d love to see Michelin returning to the sport, I think they are taking a little bit too much advantage of Bridgestone deciding to leave the sport. That shows a bit of disrespect to the sport in my opinion. I like the fact that they are talking about cost cutting as well as going greener. But their idea of moving to 18” this late of the season is unreasonable and unfair to the teams. Most of the teams surely have started working on the next year’s car as far as design and whatever else I don’t know of goes. Now because of the 18” tyre they will have to start if all over again. Surely that will be more expensive to do. That doesn’t sound right in my view.

    The next thing is about teams having to pay for the choice of tyres. It is an interesting concept James. I somewhat agree with what you have said about this. Yes, F1 is the premium motor sport & the tyres suppliers should be jumping for joy to be able to represent any team in F1. But F1 is not like football, Tennis or Cricket where the ball, racket & bats can be produced in very low cost. We all know that it is ridiculously expensive for the tyre manufacturer to supply fresh tyres in every race to every team (11/12 sets of tyres). Bridgestone certainly have figured out that they are not making enough money compare to what they are spending if they are to be the sole tyre supplier in F1. However, it is hard to believe that they are not making enough money when they are the only tyre supplier of one of the most watched sport in the world!!! I also find it hard to believe that Bridgestone will make more money if they are not in F1. I personally think that the teams should pay some sort of money to the tyre suppliers. But FIA has to set the maximum limit on that. FIA also should set a limit on maximum how many teams should the tyre supplier supply tyres to. For example say, if there is 2 suppliers then each supplier shouldn’t supply tyres to no more than 12 teams. That way we can see a good balance of tyres on the grid.

    FIA must not act fool this time for the sake of earning some quick fire money by inviting any supplier back into the sport. If the tyres don’t give the cars enough grip or they don’t last the length of the race it will cause more damage to the sport surely. It will also cause chaos in races. Already new teams are a bit too slow & rapid weather change so far this year causing problem for the teams to perform consistently. Now if we end up with a tyre supplier with dodgy tyres to 5 teams & they have constant DNF as a result then we are never going to see a fair championship. Because there will always be safety cars, one car running into another & who knows what else.

    In conclusion, should there be more than one tyre suppliers in F1? Yes there should be. But again as a F1 fan I’d love to see quality rather than quantity.

  26. parthi says:

    Hi James,

    How do you think the change in mechanical grip will affect overtaking?

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Yeah it seems a bit strange, Parthi, but it could. If the tyres didn’t have the grip, then drivers would have to brake earlier, (less grip), go around the corners slower (less grip), be more gentle on the exit (less grip), so the whole deal would take longer and be at a slower pace therefore allowing more time, safty, and space for mistakes and passing.
      PK.

  27. Bill Day says:

    Any talk of making an F1 car “greener” is just risible. The whole sport is a total waste of resources — flying mobs of people and tons of equipment around the world just so a handful of cars can blast around a track for 2-1/2 days — I mean, please. But that’s why we love it.

    It’s Max’s legacy that F1 can never figure out what hymnal to sing from. One day it’s cost containment, the next day it’s introducing paid-for tires that will require a total suspension redesign. I’m hoping a steady hand on the tiller will eventually get the sport on a more “sustainable” footing. But “greener”? Really.

    1. TM says:

      I think the point is not to make F1 actually ‘green’; after all, the activity of F1 racing will never actually be beneficial to the environment (unless they can find a way for cars to take CO2 out of the atmosphere – as touched on by Mark Hughes in Autosport once – clearly a long way off!).

      However it is important to see the bigger picture. Just like space technology, F1 furthers the cutting edge of technologies which can be, and often are, transferred into the car industries and indeed other industries. This has been highlighted by the excellent exhibition at the Science museum in London.

      So, in terms of ‘green’, F1 can be used to develop technologies which either are green, or can be adapted to be green, which without F1 would take much much longer to develop. A specific ‘green’ example is the Williams Hybrid Power company. Here, Williams is using the flywheel technology it developed for F1 (for push-to-pass) for fuel saving in other applications. Also, Ferrari are now looking at putting KERS into road cars; again, technology developed for F1.

      So the point is that F1 technology can make net green gains by being used in other areas. This was the type of thing Mosley was going for – he never expected flowers to start growing from F1 exhausts. F1 is also a platform for manufacturers to market their technologies; including greener technologies on their road cars. This is why manufacturers like BMW were so keen on KERS in the first place.

      On a final note, paid-for tyres and cost reduction aren’t mutually exclusive; it just changes who is paying for the tyres, i.e. at the moment it’s the supplier paying, next year it could be the teams. It doesn’t mean that overall there is a net cost increase.

  28. Alex says:

    A very interesting development and one that could upset the current balance – not exactly to the extent of the aerodynamic changes imposed in 2009, but very close behind.

    On the subject of brakes, I don’t think it will be a cost-saving factor as James indicates, but rather an opportunity for the teams to further increase breaking performance. I hope this aspect is not overlooked and the FIA defines rules to either restrict the disc size to it’s current dimensions or impose the use of less exotic materials if the disc sizes increase.

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      Bigger brakes won’t stop cars faster. If they can lock wheels now, bigger brakes won’t make anything change. The brakes will just last longer and be more reliable.

    2. Carl says:

      Braking performance is already tyre limited. As the 18inch rims/tyres offer less traction its makes no odds if you increase the discs or callipers. There is only so much grip.

      All it i will do is allow the driver to lock up wheels more easily.

      1. krad says:

        Which could spice up racing quite a bit dont you think?

    3. John O'Neill says:

      Heya,

      There will be a *very* small improvement in braking performance at places such as the first corner at Monza (where the downforce loads are such that the drivers can hit the brake pedal with as much force as possible, and then ease back to avoid locking wheels as the downforce falls off) – but as Carl and Malcolm say, it’s generally tyre limited, and as soon as you lock a wheel, you have a step change/reduction in braking performance.

      Thanks,
      John.

  29. Amir says:

    Here’s a mock up of what an 18″ wheel shod Mclaren could look like….

    http://twitpic.com/1dw53c/full

    1. David Jerromes says:

      I have no problem with the 18″ wheel from an aesthetic point of view, looks much better than I’d anticipated. Thanks for posting Amir.

      Would be fascinating to see how the cars would perform with such a rim size.

      FIA could ‘just’ produce its ‘own’ 13″ tyre without ‘Bridgestone’ branding……coughs loudly..

  30. Tyler says:

    Why is the change proposed so drastic? Why not not try 15″ or 16″ wheels?

  31. Hendo says:

    Won’t bigger discs mean shorter braking distances which in turn will make it harder to over-take?

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      Nope; tires and aero are the currently limiting factors in braking ability. Bigger brakes would just mean they don’t have to press the pedal as hard, and they’ll last longer. If brakes can lock up, they’re as good as they need to be.

      1. Les says:

        It actually may affect overtaking – big brakes are easier to control, they are less on/off than smaller (on the limit?) brakes. As a result, threshold braking becomes easier with less chance of snatching a brake and locking a wheel.

        If it didn’t affect this, why do all the road performance cars go for the biggest they can? I know the bar ‘I’ve got bigger cross-drilled discs than you’ factor exists, but you can use servo assistance to increase force.

  32. chris green says:

    The reason for Bridgestone pullng the pin is that they don’t see F1 as good value.
    I agree with Dan. F1 needs to understand that it isn’t the centre of the universe.

    Surely the teams should agree on the tyre specification and then the sport can tender the job and do the deal. The sport can afford the cost. They could always take it out of Bernies cut! lol

  33. Elliot says:

    As always, JA on F1 continues to be the best F1 site out there.

    Every day I visit and there’s a new post like this – something I’d never think about. More tyres = more competition = less standardised racing?

    Fantastic, James.

  34. tom says:

    What’s with this road relevance rubbish? If you want that then LMS and GT’s are the only option, F1 cannot be road relevant at least not post-actively, technology can leak down but it shouldn’t creep from road to track!
    I agree with Michelin about the cost, that’s something that needs looking at throughout the sport but I think a control tyre is good for F1.
    Also 18″ low profile tyres, that’s just cost cutting for them. If we’re honest they’re not exactly road-relevant for the majority of us. If they were interested in that sort of thing we’d have run flat tyres in motorsport! It’s just bringing it closer in line with their LM programme.

    1. Les says:

      Agree; lets look at a couple of examples, shall we?

      Carbon brake discs – no use on a road car

      Front and rear wings generating huge downforce – road cars don’t need it and the drag means they would be fuel guzzlers

      Sequential dual clutch ‘seamless shift’ gearboxes – no advantage to a normal road car that can’t already be done with an auto.

      Diffusers – same as for the wings except for the drag comment

  35. Bo Amato says:

    Tyre supplier. If you really analyze what benefits a supplier can get from throwing money at F1 think about how much money they can earn without bothering.

    If Goodyear went to all the car manufactures. For example went to BMW, Ford, Fiat, Ferrari and Honda and agreed to supply tires to all new cars all over the world for cost this would most certainly be the better deal.

    When people buy new cars the love them, when they have to replace the rubber they most probably will put the rubber on the car that they had when they purchased their new car.

    Doing this will generate more money than throwing money at F1 or any form of motor sport

    Obviously about half would put the same rubber on the car as when they initially bought it. The expensive car is more probably as the customer wants his / her car like new. However its a numbers game as well and i expect a tyre manufacturer to make far more money doing this than throwing money at F1.

    That is the sensible business decision.

    1. Hendo says:

      Supplying your product at or near cost to gain an unfair commercial advantage over your competitors is called ‘dumping’ and is illegal in pretty much every country of the world.

  36. Jake Pattison says:

    Well, F1 is in a bloody mess. It is getting harder and harder for this sport to survive in the world of today. I’m not suggesting it is about to cark it but this would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.
    The last thing BE wants is to reach into his pockets to keep F1 alive so I can guarantee the result will not entail F1 paying for tyres.

    And since when was a road tyre on a vehicle doing over 200mph relevant? (Veyron et al excepted)

  37. Brace says:

    Is football road relevant?
    Can can you wear football shoes with crampons on the regular street?

    No and No.

    I really don’t understand why F1 is getting over itself to please everyone.

    You can’t do it.

    There’s an old story about a man and his mule. The conclusion is that you can’t please everyone so you might as well do it the way you think it’s best to be done.

    F1 isn’t road relevant and it doesn’t have to be.

    It’s getting so politically correct that it makes me vomit a rainbow.

    Want more racing? Stop making it road relevant. Road cars are not made to race around and F1 cars are not made to go 1000s of miles.

    1. Torrent says:

      I don’t agree with you. F1 might help make cars greener without even seeking to do so but not in every area. For example, the dual clutch transmission is more efficient for a FORMULA 1 car because it ensures that the time where engine doesn’t transmit power to the tyres is as short as possible. By doing so not only is the car quicker but it wastes less fuel. Such a system is relevant to road cars in many ways. It ensures more comfort in gear changes, quick gears shifts, enhance fuel efficiency. That’s great isn’t it. Add to that the fun of a system you can user either manually or automatically, what else do you want ! The next step should be the CVT, the most efficient transmission system with virtual infinite gears. I don’t think it will be popular though because the engine keeps reeving at the same speed all the time.

      Besides, a FORMULA 1 car has to use the energy at its disposal in the more efficient way and these cars brake so hard it is such a loss to loose that energy only by transforming it into heat by the brakes.
      So by developing KERS systems as efficient as possible and as light as possible, FORMULA 1 paves the way for road cars relevant technologies. It doesn’t mean that everyone’s car might use a kers like system, but part of the technology developed in kers systems might help enhance braking energy recovery systems for road cars. Besides, don’t underestimate the power of the image of FORMULA 1. If FORMULA 1 kept using manual gearboxes, nobody or a few would have gone for cars with paddles. The same might happen with KERS.

      An area where I don’t see a correlation between road and FORMULA 1 is tyres. Tyre manufactures are there only to tell us “look how good we are, we are capable of developing such fast tyres !!!!” but I see no relevance to the road cars.

  38. zxzxz says:

    it would be nice if there was some way to allow a tire war without having it tied into car design so tightly that teams have to sign up for one tire for the whole season, and potentially take themselves out of a championship by not picking the right company to partner with.

    teams could be allowed to test and get data on the tires from various teams, and place orders for them prior to a race weekend, and then use whatever make they’d like for each weekend. rather than contracting for a season.

    but it would take strict regulations to ensure that the tire differences are entirely mechanical and the profiles are exact enough that there isn’t an aero difference between makes.

    and the choice would have to be forced enough in advance to allow the manufactures time to fill the orders. which could be tons of trouble. as could one maker running away with it.

    but i just remember thinking it was really stupid that michelin teams would be terrible one week solely because of the tire, or the same with bridgestone, and finding it terribly frustrating to deal with contracted, unchangable, cross-make competition.

  39. Paul Kirk says:

    I agree that the proposed ultra-low profile tyres would, on an ultra-smoothe surface, probably provide improved grip, assuming the suspension design and chassis setup was able to keep cambers at optimum. But not all tracks are smoothe. I don’t understand why, in the currant economical climate they’re contemplating changing the rules (again), thereby creating major expenses and hassels for the teams. Think wheels, (probably 20 per car), brakes, hubs, uprights, steering arms, wishbones, pickup points on the tub (might require a new tub), spring and shock units, activating links, anti roll bars, weight distribution, roll centers, camber-change curves, testing and developement etc., etc. I reckon they should keep the currant tyre diamentions at least untill they bring in the new engine formula. Most (all) of the teams are struggeling to optimize there cars since the last rule changes, so why hit them with more different rules? And expenses? Seems crazy to me!
    PK.

    1. Rich C says:

      Its not about changing the rules. Its about actually getting anyone to build them some tires! This has potential to be a major clusterF.

  40. Matt says:

    Why’s that then?

  41. Bob Q says:

    An 18″ rim is a very silly idea.
    1. It would ignite a hugely expensive technology waramongst the teams.. A car would be so very different that almost everything must be changed. I though we were trying to restrict resources?
    2. There is 0 relevance bewteen any road tire an F1 tire. Rim size is irelevant.
    3. While I enjoyed the tire wars in the past, I can’t see how it would be a good thing now. Right now, the established teams are all pretty close in speed.
    4. How the heck is an 18″ tire any greener?
    5. They should just pay Bridgestone to produce exactly the same tires they made for this year. If they offered what it costs Bridgestone to actually build and service the tires, it seems to me they would accept. the advertising they get would be the “profit.” This would certainly serve well for the 2 years until the new regs (whatever they may be) take place. If that isn’t enough, offer to give them a profit

    1. Torrent says:

      Totally agree, but BRIDGESTONE aren’t willing to come back whatever happens. It is a corporate decision.
      The problem with rim change is not only the change in suspension, that’s something modify considerably year in year out to enhance weight destribution, etc… Eventhough with rim change, the suspension modifications is significant.
      The problem is with aerodynamics, because with bigger tyres (in diameter), it will considerably modify air management to the rear of the car I guess. So everything has to be reworked aerodynamically in consequence and that’s a huge task. Am I wrong ?

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        The tires will retain the same overall diameter and width so there should be no change to aero. And as far as how the larger rim would be greener, there would be less rubber in the tires because of the narrower side wall height.

  42. Robert says:

    Can anyone explain to me why low-profile tyres would provide less grip? This seems counter intuitive to me. I have some very limited understanding of engineering a racing car but it is a subject that fascinates me.

    I understand that the sidewall flexes etc, but surely a well designed suspension is more effective at controlling compliance over bumps than an untunable piece of rubber. I imagine running low-profile tyres reduces the amount of unsprung mass on a car also which i can only be desirable. If low profile tires are not more effective for these reasons, then why do we have them at all and why are they raced in other series? I was under the impression F1 used large profile tires not due to their increased grip but rather because of a set of circumstances over the years that have conspired against bringing the aspect of the tires to these modern dimensions.

    I’d love some insight from someone with more knowledge than myself!

    1. Low profile tyres actually INCREASE the unsprung mass not decrease it. This is because the larger wheel (made of metal) increases mass more than the reduction in the size of the rubber bag of air (tyre).

      1. Robert says:

        Makes perfect sense when you say it like that, and now I feel a bit stupid! haha So what is the reason for having low-profile tyres at all? Is it purely cosmetic?

      2. On a road car the move to low profile tyres is usually to allow wider tyres to retain the same overall circumference to keep the gearing the same and speedo accurate.

        Having a wider contact patch for the same corner weight and tyre pressure means the contact patch is shorter which means lower rolling resistance and potentially better economy. It also means that the wider tyre runs cooler as it is cooling (ie. not in contact with the road) for longer due to the shorter contact patch. This allows you to use a softer rubber compound without overheating it which can lead to more grip.

        However, there are some downsides. As already mentioned, unsprung mass increases which can make the car a bit skittish on bumps unless the springs and dampers are altered and the car is less comfortable. Also, the car becomes more sensitive to camber change when cornering and due to the wide rubber and lack of compliance you will more quickly go from high grip to low grip and get sudden breakaway. Finally, for most “road racers” having a little blast through some country corners you will never fully heat up the tyres and cold low profile tyres will give less grip than slightly warmer standard tyres. This could also be an issue in an emergency where the low profile tyre is stone cold. Finally, a wider tyre will aquaplane in water at a lower speed than a narrow tyre and will give less warning.

        For F1, assuming the widths are the same then many of the advantages of low profile tyres disappear but the downsides remain. The low profile tyres will actually be easier to heat up due to the decreased amount of rubber and air which is the opposite situation to a road car where the width increase is more important. Unsprung mass will be an issue and will stress driveshafts and gearboxes and other components and the cars will be much more twitchy, especially over bumps. The ride will also be harsher.

        I am by no means an expert in all this and am happy to be corrected if I have misunderstood anything but my feeling is that 15″ tyres are justified but 18″ would be taking it too far.

        I hope this is of interest and invite comments from anyone with anything to add.

        Cheers,
        Craig.

      3. Robert says:

        Thanks, Craig. That’s a really comprehensive explanation and all very interesting. I appreciate you taking the time to explain.

        Cheers

        Robert

  43. R/T says:

    With the pardon of a non polited word, but this probably will sh*te with F1 even more, as probably the braking distances will be shortened given the bigger brake discs that probably they’ll use, it will require more costs (quick note; when F1 will realise that changing rules every season costs much and keeps the backmarkers even more behind the top teams ?) and the F 1 cars with 18″ wheels will be something beyond ridiculous, they will appear like a “tuned single seater” instead of a proper racing car, with function over form approach

    FIA, please, don’t get into this idea

  44. R/T says:

    And just for the record, FIA should bring back the 2002 rules and points system, as they were in their full integrity, and keep them untouched for 5 seasons or more, in order to keep a solid perspective and the costs quite stable, epsecially to the backmarking teams, just think if owned one of these teams and being forced to change it all every season

    If the rules were stable, imagine the amount of money that it would save them

    I can’t get how FIA keeps changing the rules and making them worse, seriously

    Cheers from Sao Paulo, BRA

  45. Rj says:

    I second the request for a technical article on the change to 18″ rims please James. I’ve heard the claim that 18″ rims are more relevant but I don’t understand how. It’s not likely that they would simply use LMS tyres, or even much of the tech from that side, surely the closest they would get is to use the moulds?

    I’m also curious how the engineers you speak to would imagine a “tyre war” working, in an evironment with such limited testing?!

    The biggest reason to change the tyres so drastically would actually seem to be to level the playing field. If Michelin are to come back to the sport, they have stated repeatedly that they want there to be competition. However, I’m sure they don’t want competition with Bridgestone on a tyre that they haven’t been making for a number of years. By changing the size to something new, they can compete as relative equals.

    There’s not a lot of negotiating room for FOTA/FIA/FOM at this stage; they desperately need someone to supply tyres. However, it would be interesting if the FIA was able to mandate that tyres have to be made available to all teams on a race-by-race basis. Hopefully this would help teams to not be disadvantaged if they chose the “wrong” supplier at the start of the season.

    Rj

    1. Torrent says:

      whatever happens BRIDGESTONE is out.

      1. Rj says:

        Sure. It would be foolish for Michelin to make that assumption, however.

  46. Torrent says:

    The last thing we want in FORMULA 1 is a new tyre war. Once a tyre war starts, anything teams and drivers are capable of doing is overshadowed because the tyre enhancement brings much more time than any other factor.
    I remember the days when BRIDGESTONE was developing their tyres to meet FERRARI & McLaren requirements (during the HAKKINEN SCHUMI’s era). All the other teams looked so far behind and I remember Frank Williams complaining about having to adapt their suspension to the tyres BRIDGESTONE brought. They had no say on tyre development.

    Now with a single tyre manufacturer and tyres development stopped at the start of the season, every team is in the same working relationship with BRIDGESTONE. The consequence is that less funded teams are much closer to the big ones than what used to be in the 80s and 90s. Last year, even FERRARI & McLaren had to work hard to go past the first qualifying shoot out.

    So whatever happens, no new tyre war !!!!!!!!

  47. Hendo says:

    How about this if there is a tyre war, each manufacturer has to supply half the field each – one car from each team. Let’s see Jenson & Lewis fighting over who gets the Pirelli’s.

  48. “…It is already quite late for making a decision on suppliers for 2011, but if the move to 18″ is to go ahead it needs to be made very soon, as the cars will have to be redesigned quite significantly. The suspension and particularly the aerodynamics change quite significantly…”

    James,
    Seeing as how the teams are designing new cars for 2011 anyway, surely this is a mute point?

  49. Tony says:

    If F1 finaly get around to low profile tyres it will be a continuation of past history. They used Crossply tyres until the early eighties. Perhaps we could have tyre competition and a stock, simple aero pack, front wing, rear wing& underbody.

  50. Rich C says:

    If this goes on much longer they’ll be down at Sears prior to each race buying new tires!

  51. David Jerromes says:

    Not read every post, so apologies if points already covered….

    Why does any given tyre company want to supply tyres to F1? Marketing and PR in spades right?
    Much discussion in previous posts relating to making dry racing more exciting centred around the tyres. I.e. having some that ‘fail’ earlier in the race…
    This is not good PR for any tyre manufacturer when they are the sole supplier to F1…, hardly proves that any road-car driver should consider Bridgestone over any other brand!

    Now if Avon, Pirelli, Michelin etc join F1 as competing tyre suppliers then it’s far more relevant to road-car drivers, not just in terms of diameter and they’ll be more likely to choose one brand over another due to F1 success honed from competition..

    1. David Jerromes says:

      ..and YES I was watching F1 during the tyre-war years.

      Have no problem with them again, however there should be an option to switch between supplying brands, not to be forced to be supplied by one brand only all season.

  52. MacGraw says:

    Macca are being flattered by the problems/ill-luck faced by Red Bull and Ferrari.

    Doubt Red Bull and Ferrari will be that weak all year . . . hard to see Macca having enough luck all year to win either championship. But not impossible.

  53. Rich C says:

    If there were more than 1 tire supplier, and IF teams signed NON-exclusive contracts with several, then presumably they could switch back and forth amongst suppliers at will.

    But the suppliers would extract a heavy cost for doing that.

  54. Trent says:

    In my experience, a tyre war is generally an excellent way to introduce an element of unpredictability due to the tyres being a lot more marginal.

    Bridgestone are way too conservative – I personally do not want to see them back in F1.

    Watching some races from the early 90s recently, it struck me that the current issue of everyone changing tyres at about the same time did not occur then. It seemed that tyres were changed when the driver felt the grip starting to be lost, not on a lap prearranged before the race. The strategy was a lot more reactive, which is a good thing.

  55. Peckers96 says:

    I think that the arguments over “road-relevance” are rather irrelevant. It’s all about the perception that the tyres used on an F1 car are similar to those that you can buy down at the tyre shop; even better if your brand has beaten other brands in Formula 1. This perception probably won’t make a lick of difference to the die-hard F1 fans, but to the mass market, it will.

    As for the cost, why not get the teams to pay the tire suppliers for their annual supply (as teams do at the moment for engines), but allow that amount to be discounted through on-car sponsorships. Sauber, for example, could plaster their car with Michelin stickers and get the tyres for a quarter of the price of, say, Ferrari?

    1. Rich C says:

      Agreed. The “we beat competitor A on Sunday” marketing scenario is what Michlin apparently want, which is fine.

      I thought the cars already have Bridgestone stickers on them?

      This whole situation has the potential to be a monumental FAIL on the part of FOM.

  56. bibendum says:

    Think about it… who could step in at “short” notice to produce a viable tyre that can withstand the pressures of a whole race distance? Who has the capacity, capability and technical progress to make it happen? Does Cooper/Avon have the technology? No. All the key people (except Dupasquier) are still there, they have a team of keen and technically knowledgable people just dying to get back on the world motorsprot stage. Today where are Michelin? No F1, no WRC, no Moto GP – they need a world stage. OK so they said “no” to single supplier but if they could introduce compounds which demonstrate fuel saving with low rolling-resistance imagine being able to ride with 20 litres less fuel and still win the race… they will create competition within their own product range – teams can choose – traditional set-up or less weight and fuel-saving tyres. Everybody wins. There is no choice – Michelin WILL be back in F1 – put simply, nobody else could even hope to make the grade in the available time… 18″ rims .. why not? What the hell does Adrian Newey get paid for? Just get on with it and design a car which has sufficient suspension and doesn’t rely on “fat” tyres to compensate… bring it on.

  57. john g says:

    wish i could get $50m for coming up with crap ideas

    for my car, 13″ is actually more relevant than 18″. if it weren’t for the brakes, i’d have them!

  58. James Allen says:

    Branding, exposure. They paid around $100 million to supply teams and get track signeage etc. I think they have also done business to business deals with manufacturers like Ferrari, which have brought income

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