F1 Winter Break
Pirelli debuts 18-inch concept tyre as Bianchi heads timesheet for Ferrari
Posted By:   |  09 Jul 2014   |  5:58 pm GMT  |  143 comments

This week’s final day of testing at Silverstone saw Lotus’ Charles Pic complete 14 laps using Pirelli’s proposed 2017 specification 18-inch tyres as Kimi Raikkonen’s test replacement Jules Bianchi topped the times for Ferrari.

The current 13-inch wheel, which was in use for all others and for Pic later in the day is expected to be dispensed with in 2017, however Pirelli Director of Motorsport, Paul Hembery, today said that the change could come as soon as 2016 should the Italian company be given the green light from the FIA.

“We weren’t looking for performance,” Hembery told reporters at Silverstone; “the priority was to show people what a Formula One car would look like with a change of [wheel] rim.

“We will supply the people in the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission with images, so people can make a decision on the future regulations based on fact rather than computer-generated images: that was the real objective.”


Of course, with such drastic changes in configuration there must be structural changes in the tyre itself and Hembery added that today’s test had confirmed the manufacturer’s suspicions about the technical challenges the switch might bring.

“We confirmed what we knew,” he said. “You have more rigid sidewalls, so you do have an integrity challenge; the car’s sensitivity to camber will be very high; the front tyre will create a very aggressive turn in; there will be big variations in pressure. We need more detailed studies on that.

“For now, we were just confirming the things we know, and the areas you would need to start working on if indeed this is where the sport will go – and that is really now in the hands of the decision makers.”


Away from today’s main spectacle regular Marussia racer Bianchi impressed on his test outing for Ferrari, in place of Kimi Raikkonen who is being rested following his high-speed crash during last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The Frenchman completed 89 laps for a best time of 1:35.262, just 0.02s adrift of Fernando Alonso’s best for the Scuderia in the second free practice session of the British GP weekend.

Behind Bianchi, Daniil Kyvat ended the day in second place, three tenths of a second off the pace. Kevin Magnussen was third for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton, fifth fastest today, had a spin early in the session and remained in the garage until 2pm, eventually completing 47 laps.

Sebastian Vettel, who spent the day testing 2015 Pirelli compounds as Red Bull Racing fulfilled its mandatory tyre testing day, finished the session in ninth place after he was sidelined for almost three hours as his team spent much of the late morning and early afternoon changing the power unit in his RB10.

Silverstone In-Season Test
1. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m35.262s 89
2. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m35.544s +0.282s 56
3. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m35.593s +0.331s 91
4. Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1m36.327s +1.065s 84
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.680s +1.418s 47
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m37.193s +1.931s 40
7. Max Chilton Marussia 1m37.359s +2.097s 77
8. Daniel Juncadella Force India 1m37.449s +2.187s 52
9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m39.410s +4.148s 76
10. Charles Pic Lotus 1m41.906s +6.644s 38
11. Julian Leal Caterham 1m42.635s +7.373s 51

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Has Vettel got any power units left?


It wouldn't be one of those he's using for the season. He's used 4 ICE's so far in F1.

Go to http://www.fia.com, click on the F1 championship, go to the latest race to happen, and then click "Event & Timing Information". Under there, click on Technical Reports, and one of them on the Friday of the event will show where everyone is in terms of Power Unit components use.


Thanks for the instructions KRB, could the way to get the information be more convoluted?

I think someone needs to tell the FIA what a site map is.


Thanks for that KRB by the way.

Phil, does it matter if Vettel has PUs left the way his first half unfolded?


Redbull won four world championships, Vettel was lucky enough to be their no1 driver while they were dominant..

Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen Massa, Grosjean, Hulk all would have been multiple world champions had they been in Vettels position. With a less than perfect car Vettel has proven he is a good driver, maybe even quite. But not one of the true greats that can make a silk purse from a sows ear.




Feel free to give me a list of F1 champions who won 4 in a row. Feel even free-er to give me a list of F1 champions who won their first, then went to win 3, and then 4. And if you think it is easy to find the way and the will to win 4 championships in a row for one team, go ahead, give me a list all teams who have done it.

Now, perhaps re-evaluate your conclusion?


Vettel? who is he?

Did he ever win in a car he designed and helped build ?

Did he ever win a championship in another car besides a red bull?


Vettel is a good driver in a great car, he was in the right place at the right time. Simple as that!


C63, you and I know we're just poking some fun here. But before we annoy the mods and bore people, let us retrench back to more civil exchanges. F1 Gods know darn well that when it comes to Vettel and Lewis we could go punch for punch all season long, with only truth being that Vettel punches are 4X the strength. 🙂



, it is great to know that you find joy in Vettel’s efforts...


I think you will find it's his failure that I am enjoying so much, nothing to do with his efforts.

I really don't know why you are so touchy, you never miss an opportunity to have a dig at Hamilton. I don't really see how you can complain when you get a little bit of your own medicine back. To be fair, after Vettels momentous crash back to earth this season, I think I have exercised considerable restraint.

Anyway, you best slip into your SV pyjamas, and snuggle up with that nice limited edition blanket - then you can dream about when SV used to be a winning driver 😉


C63, it is great to know that you find joy in Vettel's efforts. You're 4 years late to recognize those awesome efforts, but you know what they say - better late than never. OK, I'm off to take a nap under by Vettel four times champion limited edition blanket. It's got 4 giant stars on it for each of the championships he's won, in case you didn't know. Apparently he's the only guy to ever do that...win first, then go on to 4 in a row.

Do you think you'll finally ever be able to add a second start ot your Lewis blanket after these long 5 years? 🙂

OK, that concludes my allocation of cheap shots for the week.


I guess I was being a little tongue in cheek when I asked the question 😉

Fascinating to find out the level of detail that is readily available though, so thanks for that KRB.



does it matter if Vettel has PUs left ...

Speaking for myself, if SV started receiving grid penalties (for exceeding PU limits) I would find it hard to supress a grin, or maybe even a little chuckle 🙂


This type of wheel/tyre is used in other formulae so it is not an unknown quantity at all.

When enlarged to 20 inch rear it will help put down the torque from the new engines, it should have been included when the engine changed. Different suspension needed. Roll centre moved, different levels of everything in the suspension, which will need to be done in the car and not the tyres.


I thought the CGI rendering from rear angle looked simply awesome.

Then I saw this Lotus and instantly said...yuck. Could it be the gold rims? Can tire rack perhaps do a rendering where you choose your F1 team car and then scroll through rim styles in 18" size? 🙂


The quickest way to decide whether it's the gold rims might be to get rid of the gold. A couple of seconds in Gimp resulted in this:


Granted, that's a really horrible job, but I am leaning towards it being the gold; it's a shade that doesn't come close to matching the livery of the car. Those are more a gaudy Subaru WRX gold, rather than whatever it is that's currently on the Lotus' paint job.



I think part of the problem in this picture is that you can see the relatively puny brake discs sized for the 14 inch wheels through the spokes. I see this a lot on road cars too. The kids like to put huge wheels & tyres on their stock Hyundai Elantras, Honda Civics, etc. They can't afford to upgrade the brake discs to a larger size. They think they're cool but I think they look ridiculous. You need a honking set of Brembos to fill the space in order to pull off the look.

As for F1, I imagine an upgrade to more massive brakes is an obvoius change to go along with the larger wheels; even more awesome stopping power running down to the hairpin here in Montreal!


I agree - it look completely disproportional.

Most cars actually are equipped with 15 inch wheels as standard. Pirelli would sell a whole lot more tyres if you average Joe can put 'F1 tyres' on their car.


They are really ugly on an F1


What's the logic behind the change to bigger rims? Weight saving?


Making the tyres closer in construction to conventional road tyres. That F1 tyres (and open wheel racing tyres in general) are a law unto them self has left the tyre makers increasingly uninterested in spending the money necessary to make them. There's little publicity to gain without a tyre war and little engineering knowledge if the tyres bare no relation to what you can expect to be selling. It;s partly why nobody was interested in supplanting Pirelli last year.


Spot on. Any practical application of F1 tyres to road tyres is, well, impractical.


let me quote James: http://jaonf1.wpengine.com/2014/03/special-insight-what-happens-to-f1-tyres-under-load/

if there's a win it's not weight (+4kg because of bigger rim), but aero - such a tire with much smaller and stiffer side wall doesn't flex as much as a current one, so it's much easier to predict it's shape under the load, what should benefit aero development on the car.

and there's the look of it, but that's purely up to ones taste. I personally I'm not sure if I like it. looks quite strange 🙂


You gotta remember these rules and cars were not designed formthose wheels. Many things would need to change to optimise the car on them & in that process they would look far better balanced- but for pretty much a display purposes day- I reckon they look better already.


no stranger than the platypuss noses, or whatever this noses are... you finally get used to it. But to be fair, you may like or not this new rims, but it's that big deal in terms of aesthetics...


Mechanical grip


Road relevance.

For every nutty idea, they have to balance the scale with something relevant. Wonder where the penile implant noses or sparks fit into road relevance.


Like slick tyres you mean?


well... the penile implant is road relevant in some cases. Take a middle aged man, recently divorced, getting a hair implant... you can join the dots...


"Dems are Phatt wheels" as they state on Pimp My Ride by Xihibit.

These wheels will come a cropper when they go over high sides of track limits or when two cars tyres bump into each other like Lewis & Vettels cars did at the start of Silverstone GP.

Other problems would be in how stable the rims will be on hot tracks such as Bahrain Singapore to name but a few (even if they are primarily raced at night) but at Malaysia the tyres integrity would be a problem.

What next Tripped out sound system pounding the sound of V12 engines of old & huge sub woofers in yhe air intake of the cars.

Or could use two huge speakers under barge boards or skid plates creating suction & downforce. That would be great 😀 Cars turning on a six pence. Though the top teams would engine map the speakers to suck on specific corners. Whiting would probably allow this so long as Frank Sinatra was on the racers Ipod shuffle :-D. He'd probably ban "Your sex is on fire" by Kings Of Leon 😀


Oh no, low profile tyres! Please make them go away!


Can Ferrari ask their money back from Kimi ? Ferrari may well hiring Bianchi fulltime and save 20m$. I just dont see Bianchi doing any worse than Kimi at the moment.


Kimi has proven quite adept at draining Ferrari's resources over the past few years with little in return...


The only one that has been draining Ferrari lately without giving anything in return is Alonso. He is most likely going to lead his team to first winless season since 1993. Unless they come up again with some one race rule change to avoid the embarrassment of not winning any races.


You mean apart from their most recent world championship? ;-P


I was referring to Kimi's post championship years with Ferrari (inc. sabbatical) but should have made this clear. What has Lotus got to do with this?


Ha yes you need to remind some people of that and the fact of where were Lotus before he came back.. (Oh yee if great senility)


Bianchi would do a much better job than Kimi, for a lot cheaper. KR is probably the most unreliable driver in terms of commitment to the sport. Look at Alonso's commitment at Silverstone; mediocre car, no chance in the championship, and fighting tenaciously for 5th place as if it was 1st. Just like his idol James Hunt, KR is just a very very lucky champion. Hunt won by a single point because Lauda was incapacitated for several races and KR won by a single point because the McLaren drivers were taking points off each other (it should have been Alonso's championship that year).


What about 2005 Wade or 2003 for that matter. 2 drivers were very "lucky" in FA & MS respectively when Mclaren had the most unreliable car. Raikkonen easily the most unlucky & should be a 3 time wdc..


Again you make stuff up (Its not the first time). Kimi had, along all the season, only 3 real dnfs that were not his fault (like Germany) or for another reason (Indy). In the rest, apart from Australia and Brazil, he was always on the podium.


Well!.. He had 3 complete engine failures whilst he was in the lead of a GP and he had several more where he was coming through..

You dont have to be a genius to work out he easily lost 45 pts from guaranteed wins alone.. We won t even begin to count anything else.. Goodbye


Fernando beat Kimi by 21 points in 2005. Thats quite a beating, specialy when that McLaren was unbeatable if not broken. I could admit the Renault was slightly better overalls, but for clinching the title with 2 races to go on a 17 races season? Fernando just did a better job.


It's really hard to believe that he sucks that much. Makes you realize that there was never anything wrong with Felipe after his 2009 crash, it's just that both Felipe and Kimi are being obliterated by Alonso on sheer driving skill.


I would argue that Maranello structuring everything from chassis design to race strategy around helping Fernando has just as much to do with Fernando's dominance over his team mates as his admittedly incredible skill does.



I just might have to write a post titled What's The Deal With Marenello's Number Two's.



This has an easy answer: Maranello's Number One.


as much as i like Kimi, it must be said that he was beated up by massa in his last ferrari stint, right?


Kimi and James Allison is the dynamic duo of car development. They work very well together. James knows what kind of car Kimi needs and Kimi gives precise feedback about the car.

Ferrari should get rid of political Alonso instead and start to operate as a team again. Alonso's one man show doesn't produce the results Ferrari wants.


Oh no! Why is Kimi having a tough time this year?


How do you explain that Allison was working at Renault from 2005 then? Allison has spent more time working with Alonso than Kimi. He joined Ferrari too late to have much of an impact on the 2014 car, but 2015 will have much more of his influence. There's no magical driver/engineer combo.


This is the second time Kimi has taken Ferrari's money for not _really_ racing in F1...


True again. Rightly so.


How true.


will bigger wheels mean bigger brakes as well?


Well, what size brakes do road cars use? After all, road cars now seem to be the defining factor for F1 cars...


They don't really need bigger brakes for braking ability (they can already lock them up), but having all that space to expand into sure would make cooling them easier - and I can think of a couple drivers who might be grateful for a little more reliability from their brakes 😉

Christopher Cathles

Quite possibly bigger brakes - there will be more space for them, and I can't see a designer not taking advantage of using it


Yes, it would allow larger diameter brakes.


Not a vote for or against, just a question of why would this change be prompted? Is it purely aesthetic or are there benefits to either teams or Pirelli

(I think they look ok though if anyone wants my opinion.....)


Its because the rule makers have changed every other damn thing on the cars except for the 13" wheel rim. They dont like to leave things alone.

Seriously, I think other tyre manufacturers have shown interest in F1 on condition that the tyres are more like regular road tyres in terms of diameter and sidewall.


It's to make the tyre technology more relevant for road cars, as not many road cars use 13" wheels.


F1 is trying to reconnect with it's audience at the moment so this could be something that has come out of a meeting. Another reason of course, and it's why 18" tyres were a condition for Michelin ever making a comeback to F1, is that 18s are closer in technology to their civi tyres and so the tyre company could transfer technologies into its road tyres much easier. 13s are very bespoke and somewhat useless as far as real-world applications go.

I like the idea, good to see F1 thinking ahead, even if Michelin thought of this two years ago...

Not sure of the rims, though. They need a better spoke design than that - looks too much like a steam train wheel 🙂


i believe its because of the technology and how its not very relevant to street-use as most production automobiles now have 18in wheels standard.


It's to reflect what's being fitted to modern road cars. Why spend all your time developing 13" tyres with huge sidewalls when even budget supermini's in the car park are running 15"+? You can get 18" as standard on mid-level Fiesta's and Corsas!!

Quite like the look of them, makes the car look more purposeful and slightly bigger. Reminds me of how the wheels looked on the Westlake-Eagle, purposeful.


The biggest reason is the more rigid sidewall, which should promote more direct handling - as Humbrey said, turn-ins to corners should be a lot more aggressive. That is why you see low profile tyres on sports cars and supercars - the rubber in a high sidewall is more compliant than a metal rim, and you thus lose handling precision.


Aesthetic is one thing, road car relevance is another...


First thought on seeing the tyre pic was OMG that's hideous!

Then I realised from the start of motoring,up to Grand Prix cars in the late 1960's , cars had similar diameter tyres though not low profile. It's only the current norm that is different,we'll get used to them.


Makes a lot more sense implementing up to date tire/ wheel combinations rather than fricing about with banning FRIC overnight.

Yes, it requires work and is something that could've been introduced with the changes in power units, but its a change in the right direction. Why does F1 hold on to technically outdated concepts?

The doughnut look is so out!

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

It really is fantastic to see Jules in a Ferrari. I hope he's there next season or in 2016.

What's the advantage of bigger tyres? More surface area so more grip?


The actual contact patch of the tire won't be any different. The ride will be bumpier than it already is as well. Less rubber will mean less tire flex and make the cars more prone to slip. While the rim will absorb more heat, the tire itself will accommodate less heat. This will likely mean harder compounds (less grip). I cannot see any sporting advantages in the change at all. Probably cheaper for Pirelli to manufacturer and more relevance to road cars - that's it.


Less grip, certainly than the current tyres


How so ?

contact surface remains the same. Stiffer walls actually aids cornering less roll, less slideing from the actual tyre.

If these are to be introduced they'll need that FRiC suspension back to compensate for the trave/ridel on the current tyres.

No more slow no movies of wobbling tyres.

I think they look excellent - ccompare the pics with those showing the old tyres...... They look rubbish!


It's just to bring them more in line with road car tyres. You'd get 18's typically on your Ford Focus or VW Golf. Performance road cars are usually on 20's or 21's. So I don't really understand why they're testing 18's.

A lot of the travel is taken up in the sidewall of the 13's F1 cars run at the moment, so this will have to be taken into account and suspension systems redesigned accordingly.

Practically however, it is a bit of a waste of time. Fact of the matter is, F1 cars run on slicks, not treaded tyres, and F1 tyres are made of synthetic rubber, not the same rubber you'd find on your road car. It really is just aesthetics. As much of F1 rule making is atm.

Nevertheless, I do like the way they look. And I'm all in favour of the suspension doing the work, rather than the tyre sidewall. Though I would say running 20's, in line with performance road cars, is better, bearing in mind that's really what this change is all about.



I got an e-mail notification with a reply I don't see here, for some reason.

In any case, I stand 100% corrected: with the current limits in testing, F1 is absolutely NOT the way to develop anything meaningful for the road.

It's probably time to switch to something else. I hear rally-cross is interesting...


A lot more interesting and entertaining than F1.

Rally-cross cars are the other way round though. They start life on the production line and are then stripped down to the bare metal to be replaced with race spec tech and components.

Again not really road-relevant, just people having some fun, which F1 should be about.


But why on earth do we need F1 cars to be 'relevant' to road cars?

It's F1 for goodness sake, these cars should be nothing like road cars.

Surely they diminish the brand if people start to think 'that F1 car doesn't have much over my road car'.

In my opinion F1 cars should be like objects from outer space-futuristic, light years ahead of current technology, fast and loud. It maintains the mystique of the whole show.

Trying to make them more road relevant is like shooting themselves in the foot, not that any of the dinosaurs whom run F1 would understand that. They have meetings and more meetings, and focus groups, then some hand-wringing, then arguments amongst the teams, then some edict that a 60 year old believes will make them 'down wiv da yoof'.

They don't seem to understand their own concept of F1.


On the whole, I agree with you. The idea that F1 is road relevant I find rather non-sensical to be honest. WEC yes, F1 no.

The only part where I'd disagree with you is on the outer-space futuristic, light years ahead of current technology comment.

In my opinion, F1 is about primarily, a) the skill of the driver, and b) fan entertainment. To make these cars like spaceships would require significant aero packages, which would ruin the ability to race wheel to wheel, which comes under the fan entertainment I just mentioned. Not to mention the ruinness R&D costs something like this would entail.

Like all sport, it's at it's best when it's kept simple. F1 has forgotten that.

F1 is far too corporate and marketing orientated now, to the detriment of driver skill and fan entertainment, and that's why so many people are disillusioned at the moment.

The people at the top of sports are favouring making a quick buck, over securing it's long-term future. This is as true in F1 as it is in football, f1, cricket, and anything else that Sky has endeavoured to take off free-to-air TV in recent years.

Thankfully, this pay-tv model is now coming to an end. Thanks to the internet and freedom of trade rulings made in the EU, people will soon be able to watch UK sport, legally, through using cheaper decoders abroad.

The futures bright people, don't worry :). And you'll have more cash in your back pocket to boot :).


Respectfully, I think you're missing the point slightly... it IS about road relevance but it's mostly about the suspension, not [just] the tyres. Torsion bars etc are the way to go with F1 because, as you pointed out, tyre/sidewall flex accounts for at least half the travel in the suspension of current cars.

And as others have been saying... other formulas have been using such tyres for years. Oh and Formula E just introduced them, in cars that will race on city streets!

So low-profile tyres are NOT uncharted territory. And please let's not forget that the only reason the current cars use the 13" 'balloon' tyres we have is because the regulations haven't changed since the 80s, when 13" still looked sporty... well, on a Mini, perhaps.


F1 isn't at the forefront of technology, not anymore. 10-20 years ago I'd have agreed with you, with the traction control, double-clutch gearboxes etc as you say, but today, all of these things can be developed in the manufacturers labs and windtunnels etc, under strict test conditions, and pretty much tested to destruction. They can then take these new technologies out on the test track, and then take them out on the roads to develop prototypes up until they are ready for general sale. F1 may highlight a need for road tech, but with the extensive testing and development regs F1 now has, any future development in the sport I see as being very difficult. Especially when systems such as FRIC are banned for what seem like at best, very flimsy reasons.

1. It's how the tyre is used that is the crucial thing here. The loads and forces F1 tyres experience longitudinally and laterally, not to mention the 100's of degrees heat soke they experience from the brakes. And they only last a few miles. Tyre data from F1 tyre to road isn't relevant, sorry. We'll just have to agree to disagree here :).

2. Nope of course not. I simply said it's not the same rubber you'd put on the road. I said nothing about pure rubber.

3. And I never said rim size had any affect. Aero has an affect on exposed tyres, regardless of size. They're enclosed in your road car, which obviously has a different aero effect, due to exposure and speed.

I am completely with you on the aero front. I hate it too :). I will always be in favour of anything that places the emphasis on mechanical grip and component development than anything aero derived.

My ultimate opinion is that for all this talk about tyres, its a change that no-one was really talking about needing to be made. F1 has bigger problems to resolve atm then whether they go low profile tyres or not.

And RE: your last paragraph, this is exactly my point. It is far too simplistic to say that technology can be transferred between F1 cars and road cars, just because a number matches. The same goes for a 1.6l engine, or a V6 engine, or turbo charged engine. They are inherently built differently, to different tolerances, with different components, stressed differently, with different life expectancies. Yes, the headline numbers may be the same, but it is always how these items are used that is the most critical piece of information that should be taken into account.


Respectfully, please tell me how an F1 tyre can relate to a road car tyre in anything other than size?

1. F1 tyres are slick, not treaded

2. F1 tyres are made of synthetic rubber, not the rubber you'd put on the road, and

3. F1 tyres are open, road cars are enclosed, so wind effect is completely different.

There is no road-relevance argument to be had whatsoever.

With regards to your other comments, I have posted it is more about the suspension, and that other race series having been using 18's for years, in other threads.


F1 as a whole, IS meant to be at the forefront of technology. What's the point of this if it has no relevance to road cars (or anything else)? Before the aero-craze that encroached F1 in the last decade-and-a-bit, F1 cars were very relevant to stuff we need for the road. No, really. Traction control, double-clutch gearboxes, variable-valve timing, clever differentials, even crumple-zones can be traced back to innovations and/or research in Formula 1.

The last few, 100% irrelevant years of F1, are nothing but an ugly anomaly, and letting it continue and become the norm is absolutely unacceptable.

With the above in mind:

1. So? The construction is the same. The only reason road tyres are threaded is because we don't change tyres every time it rains. F1 inters and full-wets are the same as ours.

2. You don't actually think your car's tyres are made of natural rubber, do you? With the exception of some gum-wall tyres for bicycles, everything else is petrochemical, at least in [large] part.

3. This isn't affected by a change in rim size. You're right, F1 tyres are critical for aero performance, and since I personally hate F1's dependence on aero (as you've probably noticed), I'm in favour of anything that would upset it... but this could well back-fire, since theoretically, low-profile tyres will be better for aero, once they're dialled in properly.

The one difference you missed, is that road tyres don't have a carbon-fibre belt. Last year's tyres (the ones that were dumped after Silverstone were steel-belted, like road tyres, but it would be too simplistic to say that they were the same as road tyres.


These tyres on 18" rims look far more road-relevant than the 13" rims and balloon tyres currently used.

If there were more than one tyre supplier, then the manufacturers might learn road-relevant lessons. Sadly as there's no tyre contest, this move is for the looks alone. That said, this is far more sensible than some of F1's recent moves to "spice-up the show", like banning FRIC suspension as a "moveable aerodynamic device" (an innovation that does have road car applications), standing restarts, double points last race... I could go on.


I think the proposed wheels look great. Modern and not unlike those on modern road cars. The Lotus just looks so much better. Only draw back is the tyre name will be harder to see on TV. Maybe an excuse to buy a bigger TV?


i don't see myself buying a bigger tv to better watch the pirelli logo. But if i say so to my local Pirelli dealer, perhaps he gives me a discount (or better: he finally get the Citroen 2cv tires (15 inches, mind yuo) i've been looking for for the last 2 years!)


Personally I think the wheels look sharp


This technology is _much_ more road-relevant, therefore the change to the rubber band tires i n2017. Nobody rides on balloon tires on the roads anymore - whitewalls are so 50s/60s... 😛


"Nobody rides on balloon tires on the roads anymore"

Not true.. some bicycles use 'balloon-type' tyres... and you can get while-wall or gum-wall tyres for them, too..! 😀

Mind you, most of them have 26" or 28" rims... oh well


i like the look of the new rims. question is, are they safer and faster than the current ones? in a crash like raikkonen's will there be more pieces of wheel flying about?


It is true that they are less likely to bounce about than baloon tyres, but wheel tethers stop the wheel rims from bouncing now anyway.


tethers will not stop pieces of wheel flying out if the break up. may be there should be a crash test laboratory to crash test these wheel for a report on their behaviour in different crash conditions.


Coulthard commented that the current large sidewalls (movement) exacerbated Kimi's accident.


why wouldn't be safer, in Kimi's crash, the rims were still attached to the car, it was the tire wich almost hit Max Chilton


it's a lot easier for the 18in rim to break up in a crash similar to raikkonen's at silverstone because of simply leverage as the spokes are so long. secondly a single visit to a curb would instantly put the wheel out of balance.


The 18 Inch wheels look good but lack advertising space for Pirelli

If FI are trying to find ways to save money, then introducing 18 inch Wheels and low profle tyres is not the way to do it. The teams would have to design suspension Into the cars and learning the new dynamics of the new tyres and chassis would be a huge investment of time and money

Longer term I'd think it has to come but not when. the teams are reeling for the cost of the P/u change

And I was thinking

Bianchi is looking really mentally strong

the momentum is with him,

he'll be in attack mode at the German GP


Here's a crazy idea:

To help reduce costs in introducing this brand-new, unheard-of technology, perhaps F1 designers and engineers could ask Formula E car designers how they make their cars run on 18" rims on bumpy street roads.

Or maybe they could ask the Americans, their formulas (all of them) have had such rims for a decade or two... or maybe the LeMans guys, they might know, they even manage to do it for one-ton cars! Imagine that.

Seriously... F1's ridiculous balloon tyres have overstayed their welcome by at least two decades. Formula 1 is supposed to be at the fore-front of new technology and current tyres are simply wrong.

As for the timing, I refuse to believe that this is anything like a meaningful challenge for the designers. They all had to work in lower formulae to get to F1, they ought to know how to design suspension with actual travel, rather than rely on these balloons that move like jelly in slow-motion replays.

The only problem I can see, is testing, to make sure the tyres and compounds will work with current levels of power and downforce. Using existing F1 cars to test the technology is pointless, because they lack suspension travel and modifying their existing suspension is easier said than done. Pirelli aims to use GP2 as the launch vehicle for the technology, which ought to take care of this... and it should give them and F1 teams plenty of time and data, even for 2016.


Hi Spyros

I'm not suggesting that it is a major technical challenge to design an FI car to run on large wheels. just that it would be expensive to implement and would mean that years of data for the 13Inch Wheels will go out of the window


They would have to re design and re engineer the cars, then learn how to make them work. As we saw wit ferarri and then McLaren just a shift from pushrod to pull rod suspension made The uncompetitive for half a season or longer.

l imagine it cost a lot of time and money to sort those problems out


OK yes, existing data for 13" wheels would become obsolete, we agree... but why would it be expensive for the teams?

Once again, there are cars using 18" rims, and their suspension layout is not a closely-guarded secret!


Spot on post :). Nice to read a well-informed point of view :).

Vivek Rajshekhar

The new low profile tyres look horrible! I think it's mainly the paint scheme that's making it look bad.


I just can't say the look suits F1. It doesn't look good to me, it looks weird. I like big tyres, small rims in F1, the classic look. And it sounds like the driveability doesn't suit F1 either(And no, you don't need semi-low profile tyres to fix the torque usage issues some drivers are experiencing). But, being as it is; a new proposal for F1 that I don't like, you can count on it coming soon. I've got a great track record: I didn't want v8's, v6's turbo's, kers, ers or fuel flow restrictions -These things have all happened!

oh well. Disappointment with the rules and regulations appears to be one of the defining characteristics of an F1 fan.



I'm all for forced induction engines, energy recovery, thin high set rear wings, all permutations of noses and other controversial elements but 18 inch rims on a F1 car just look wrong.


Really? Because I think the only car the current tyres would look good on, is the Mini Cooper... and that's only because the good-old Mini had 12" rims!

(that's the original Mini, obviously)


I like the look, but I'd like to see 18s at the front and 20s at the rear


I think I read somewhere that Michelin wants to come back to F1 but would like with this configuration of tire instead of the current one. Can any one confirm this? As far as they look, I would have to agree they don't look as appealing as the F1 wheels and tires of present. That being said Im sure we would all get use to them quickly.

The comment from Allen that these tires will have less grip is interesting. If that is true and there is no reason to not believe what Allen says, then I am all for them. This would again be an element that would challenge the drivers and hopefully put the racing back in hands of the drivers and not the aero guys.

if the racing benefits I could care less how the wheels and tires look. if tires like this produce more of the racing the likes of which we witnessed b/t Alonso and Vettel this past sunday, put them on the cars asap...



Yes, that's true. Michelin already make 18" tyres for Formula E, LeMans and... oh, just about everything else.

It's almost as if the technology isn't new...


I know right! It's almost as if people are starting to wake up from their own little F1 bubble, looking at other motorsports around the world, and realising, woah! F1 is actually a pretty long way behind everyone else.


This was certainly Michelin's position a few years ago. Would be surprised if they had changed their views.


Yep it's true that Michelin would only consider a return to F1 on the basis of this tyre change.

Whether we want a tyre war though is a very different thing.

Personally I'd be against it.

I think F1 are very lucky to have Pirelli at the moment, because they are willing to do whatever the FIA ask, and sometimes at great expense to their reputation. I don't know which other tyre companies would.

Being a tyre supplier in F1 is a thankless task.


I heard on the grapevine that Bridgestone are considering it too for 2017 with 18" wheels


tyre war good or bad for F1 racing?


The wheels looks much better than current 13 inches. It would be great if teams also had a choice of colour they want to use so they can match with the colour of the car!

Just need louder exhaust now and it's done deal. Watching previous year V8 and V10 engines and you realise how much more of a spectacle it brings to the sport.

And please get rid of the schlong noses...


F1 is trying to be road car relevant with their F1 race cars by adopting more and more car-related things. Engines (now called PUs), KERS (now seen on super cars, Prius, etc), and now 18" wheels.

Why not just use road cars for F1 then? A hell lot more easier, cheaper and quicker done. Comes with it are airbags to protect the drivers, A, B, C pillars plus rollcages for better protection, more body surfaces for aero, and a lot more you can think of. In turn that'll make entry to F1 cheap as you can just bring any road car to F1 without serious R&D structure, hell you can even bring your Toyota Prius to the race as it's pretty much setup and ready with just some modifications / updates needed to comply with the rules.

So there you go, FiA, solved. *feeling baffled*


Again I'm liking your posts :).

The whole idea that an F1 car is road relevant I find rather perplexing. The 2 are inherently different.

And nowadays manufacturers can do so much testing in their labs, on simulators etc, and then get them out on test-tracks around the world for real-world testing, that I don't really understand why F1 is trying to be a part of this role anymore. 10-20 years ago maybe, but not now, the world's moved on, technology has moved on.

With this in mind, F1 might aswell just revert back to being the pure and simple sprint racing series we all loved in the first place. I'm pretty sure the youth of today would have enjoyed F1 from 10-20 years ago where it really was all about wheel to wheel racing.

It just needs to not be so blooming expensive.

Put it this way, the engine saved the horse from working, so the horse became an item for leisure. Hybrid power vehicles should do the same for petrol vehicles, so F1 can become an item for leisure aswell.

But I stress again, it can only happen if costs come down. No-one is going to spend 150 million a year on a hobby. Unless they've got a humongous tax bill waiting in the wings :).


Thank you, goonerf1.


How much money are Ferrari spending on changes to the car just to accommodate Kimi? Bianci then gets in the car and within 1 day goes over 1 second faster. Gives Ferrari something to think about?


Bianchi matched Alonso's time, yes. But we need to know if he was driving Alonso's car and not Kimi's. It may be there are specific issues unique to Kimi's car which affect its handling.

De la Rosa drove Kimi's car on the first day, and if it is the case that Bianchi drove Alonso's car, then I think Ferrari have to resolve this.


I quite like the look of the new rims. And I strongly suspect that the considerations mentioned (about sidewall integrity, etc) are probably due to the fact that the test car was using 13" rim-spec suspension, which surely is misleading, since the current tyres account for about half the suspension travel, not to mention side-by-side flex...

Brakes will get a whole lot bigger, too, it seems.


Can someone tell me: if the designers had a free choice as to whether to use 13" or 18" tyres, which would they go for on grounds of performance alone? Which would be faster, a car designed round the 13"s or around the 18"s, all things being equal?


wild driving

they will make driving so difficult on extreme maneuvers and torque control will come back to pilot's feet..

good shake for engineers too,

suspension systems engineering will get bigger developing importance against aerodynamics

at the end of the day, if engineering make the cars be the fastest, overall efficiency will become a huge advance...


I am loving it. They look sexy.

The balloon tyres look silly now.


I wasn't too sure about it before, but I quite like the look of that Lotus on 18's. Can definitely get used to that.


WIll this new tyre tech drive a change in behaviour in the event of a puncture?

Could these smaller sidewalls enable some sort of run-flat technology seen in road cars? The current cost of running a lap with a deflated tyre is huge - the risk of speed vs avoiding destroying the car with flailing rubber. Would this change significantly with the new spec tyres?


James if you catch this I'd appreciate a response.

I am extremely confused why Pirelli feels the need to jump to an 18" rim for a variety of reasons:

A) 18" is by no means the most common road wheel size.

B) Formula 1 is about the greatest performance and most optimized formula for a pure racing machine. Not to develop technologies for vehicles which possess the extreme opposite of uses.

C) A road tyre and a racing (specifically F1) tyre are used for again extreme opposite uses and therefore require completely different constructions, compounds, durability, temperature ranges etc.

So again to clarify my question - Why do F1 technologies need to drive road technology directly when the two areas ask for different demands? My opinion is - Formula 1 should innovate under it's own power and by it's own demands and then road technology should borrow concepts from F1 where it can apply. Right now it seems that the road side is actually influencing the race side in a sort of coercing method.

Thanks in advance.


I have asked this question for years and still no-one has been able to give me an accurate answer, or at least one that I couldn't shoot down in about 5 seconds flat.


Interesting view. It's part of a wider rethink of the way F1 cars can be re-imagined for the future, what do teams, fans, manufacturers, FIA etc want F1 cars to look like?

It's long term thinking - makes a welcome change


If anyone's counting, I'm voting yes for low profile tyres. I like the look of them and they are road relevant.


I like the new rims and think they should be brought in sooner. Large sidewalled tyres just look so dated now.


About time F1 moved to a more road relevant wheel. The tyre development technology transfer is more accurate with 18" wheels and this will benefit road car tyres which if F1 is pushing the transfer of technology between race and road should be welcomed.

They look superb as well although people will have different views on this but as with most things change can initially look weird but once familiar the benefits will be more apparent.

Hope they change for 2016. The 13" wheels have always looked weedy with the massive profile needed so hope this is one change they push through quickly.


James, an important question please

can I ask are you able to confirm that Bianchi drove Alonso's car for the test, and that PdlR drove Kimi's??

Bianchi matched Alonso's average laptime

dl Rosa lagged behind Kimi's average laptime.

This is crucial


Love the proposed new rims and makes the car look even better. Always thought the current 13 inchers were an anachronism both visually and technically. Bring them on...


Sounds like 70% of fans in favour. Not much opposition, quite a bit of apathy


Personally I like the look, but I'm biased. Those rims are almost identical to the 18" gold rims on my STI!

Joking aside, I'm floored that something sensible, road relevant, not ugly, not costly and competition skewing is being suggested.

I don't want to see a show, I want to see a race.


Not an STI fan (I have a Forrie myself) but it's closer to what we want.

I'm writing this because the last car I drove with 13" wheels was a 1997 Renault Megane...


After looking at the new rims for ... maybe a minute and a half, when I saw the next image, the Ferrari, with the red 13 inch Pirellis, I thought, "those are old fashioned'.

We should have 18 inch rims for next season.


"the front tyre will create a very aggressive turn in"

Hmmm I seem to recall that Alonso, favours an aggressive turn in. If that's true, then this wheel can't get here fast enough for him.

Dear FIA,

Due to safety concerns of an uninteresting remainder of the 2014 season, please expedite the changes to 18" wheels. For next race would be just fine.

Signed: tongue in cheek.


I like the 18" rims. They look a lot better than I thought they would. The main benefit though, I think, is that a lower profile tyre should lessen the impact of the tyres' characteristics on the cars. At present, most of the suspension's work is being done by the tyre's sidewall so I suspect a smaller, thicker sidewall would shift that onus back to the cars and make the tyres a bit more neutral than they've been in recent years.


I don't really care so longs they are wider and stickier and put the onus back on mechanical grip rather than aero.


It's such a shame we don't get a 'like' button here... 😀


Just a belated point, Its not just about road relevance or the looks & its not something been pushed by the FIA or Bernie/FOM.

Larger tyres is something that every tyre supplier thats been in F1 recently has wanted. Bridgestone wanted to move to 15" tyres, Michelin proposed 18" tyres & Pirelli have been doing the same since they entered F1.

One reason not been mentioned so far is that pretty much every other category already uses larger tyres, Indycar runs 15" & Sportscars, GT & some other open wheel categories already run 18" tyres.

As such F1 going the same way will allow tyre suppliers share tyre data across categories & use the same tyre molds, Compounds & construction.

Bridgestone were pushing for 15" so they could share data between F1 & Champcar/Indycar.

Michelin wanted 18" tyres so it could share data between F1 & some of the other categories it runs in (WEC for example).

Right now with F1 tyres been smaller than every other category tyre suppliers are not really able to share data across categories & they have to come up with F1 specific tyre molds & other tyre construction equipment.


So F1 is SO big on becoming closer to road cars with (Yuch!!!) hybrid power...yet they run around with tires that have sidewalls that are from the 50's.

The larger tires look cool, the present tires look like dinosaurs.

Tradition is for losers...innovation is for winners.

Btw - hybrid power is not an innovation, IMO...it's a compromise.

Major manufacturers hate all-electric cars because they have fewer moving parts and don't break down as often (and dealers despise them as roughly 50% of their profits come from service/parts sales).

But manufacturers need to seem green. Solution...hybrid.

More complex, more parts, more cost, more profit and they look 'green' while doing it.

I hate them...either all electric or all internal combustion for me.

Btw, I really hope the new Formula electric series takes off.


If this is a attempt to make F1 more attractive, then i think it is a quite cheap one. Best if they change some fundamental things instead of these 'symbolic' adjustments.

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