F1 will probably stick to 13-inch tyres, opines Pirelli’s Hembery
During the Monaco Grand Prix, both Pirelli and Michelin demonstrated prototype 18-inch tyres for single-seat race cars. The GP2 rubber that Pirelli showed off was developed in part to demonstrate the tyre maker’s ability to adapt to future changes in regulations, including a possible switch to a wider diameter, low profile tyre in Formula One. But although Pirelli is ready to offer the top-flight championship such as tyre, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery seems less than confident that the FIA will approve an 18-inch size for F1.
According to Espn.com, Hembery has stated that “I’ve got a feeling we’ll end up with a much wider tyre, but on a 13-inch rim.” The motorsport director believes a wider tyre for a 13-inch rim to be “the direction we are going,” and he commented that a wider tyre “gives a very big visual impact” and brings it more in line with the road-legal high performance tyres Pirelli currently sells.
While a decision against the 18-inch tyre would be disappointing for the tyre maker’s development boffins (and for Michelin, which considers 13-inch tyres a “thing of the past” for single-seat race cars), not everyone within Pirelli would shed tears. Espn.com quotes the motorsport director as saying “I think the [Pirelli] marketing department would like to keep 13-inch and a nice big sidewall for the branding, which we don’t have to pay for – every cloud has a silver lining.”