McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris have become the first front-line F1 drivers to test Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres, as the pair tried out the larger rubber – set to be introduced in 2021 – around the Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France.

    Sainz completed 39 laps of the circuit on Thursday 7 November – his track time limited due to poor weather – before Norris took over the car for Friday, completing 106 laps in brighter conditions.

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    Norris completed 106 laps on the 18-inch tyres at Paul Ricard

    The test follows on the back of former Williams racer Sergey Sirotkin becoming the first driver to try out the tyres in September, behind the wheel of a Renault mule car, while reigning champions Mercedes are set to test the 18-inch tyres themselves in December.

    The new tyres are part of a raft of regulation changes due to be introduced to Formula 1 for 2021, with the 18-inch rubber being both more road relevant than the current 13-inch tyres, as well as easier to model (and more cost effective as a result) in a simulation environment.

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    Watch Sergey Sirotkin trying out the 18-inch tyres back in September