A fresh chapter: Pirelli presents 18-inch F1 tyres at Silverstone
A major change to Formula 1 for the 2022 season will be the introduction of 18-inch tyres after half a century of wide sidewall tyres sitting on 13-inch rims. Pirelli is presenting the new tyres at Silverstone today and comments that “now it’s time to change to a more modern approach” with a dimension actually seen on today’s road cars.
With more pleasing aesthetics and a greater emphasis on technological proximity to road car tyres, the new P Zero F1 tyre has the same tread width as before (305 millimetres at the front and 405 millimetres at the rear) but a slightly larger overall diameter, which grows from 660 millimetres to 720 millimetres. The most significant change is a reduction in the sidewall to a more low-profile configuration.
Better precision & less impact on aerodynamics
This new profile will change the behaviour of the Formula 1 cars on track; Pirelli says it will provide greater precision when changing direction. “From the tests carried out so far – in both dry and wet conditions – the drivers’ feedback has been positive and the new tyres will contribute to even more competitive races, with cars that are less sensitive to aerodynamic turbulence while following behind one another,” shares Pirelli. The lower sidewall also means that the tyre will flex less, thus reducing its impact on the car’s overall aerodynamics. “All of which should favour close racing,” the tyre maker adds.
The compounds for the 18-inch tyres will also be completely new; Pirelli says these will ensure maximum consistency and less overheating. Five compound grades will be available for next year’s F1 championship, three of which will be chosen for each race weekend; just as is the case currently.
Accompanying F1 into the future
Upon the switch from 13-inch to 18-inch, Pirelli will become the only tyre manufacturer that has competed in Formula 1 with all the wheel sizes that have been part of the World Championship’s history. It’s a story that began in 1950, thanks to Pirelli’s first wins and titles with Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati: front-engine Formula 1 cars that ran on tall and narrow tyres. As time went on, the sport moved onto 13-inch tyres, before Pirelli embarked on its current era as the championship’s tyre partner in 2011.
In 2017, Pirelli innovated by introducing tyres that were 25 per cent wider than they had been previously, providing a bigger footprint and more grip, which in turn resulted in lap records being lowered all over the world. Now, another fresh chapter opens with 18-inch tyres: a new dimension with which Pirelli is “privileged to accompany Formula 1 into the future.”