Pirelli conclude on-track development programme for new 18-inch tyres with Paul Ricard test
Daniil Kvyat capped off Pirelli's 18-inch tyre testing on Monday as he completed 167 laps on intermediate compounds at Circuit Paul Ricard – concluding F1's tyre supplier's on-track development programme for the all-new 2022 compounds.
Pirelli began their testing programme for the new-spec compounds in February with 19 drivers and nine teams offering feedback over 28 days of track testing in 2021, after eight days of testing took place in 2019-20. The low-profile 18-inch tyres will replace Pirelli's current 13-inch tyres, coinciding with the new era of F1 that begins in 2022, with all new technical regulations.
"With this latest wet test we finally close our development schedule for the new 18-inch tyres," said Pirelli's Head of F1 and Car Racing, Mario Isola. "Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we had to revise our test programme entirely, cancelling on-track testing to concentrate on simulation as well as virtual development and modelling.
"This system of virtual screening helped us optimise the number of physical prototypes produced and return to on-track testing for 28 days throughout 2021. We started off the development process with the profile, before moving onto the base construction, and finally homing in on the five compounds that we will homologate for next year."
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Pirelli also supplied some fascinating facts about their 18-inch tyre development, with 392 sets having been used, 30 different prototype compounds having been tested, and 4,267 laps having been completed on 10 circuits including Imola, Bahrain and Silverstone.
But there's more work to do, as Isola said: "The results obtained up to now have been arrived at with the input of the drivers currently competing in the championship, a vital aspect for us, albeit using mule cars.
"Next year, we will still have some test days at our disposal, which will allow us to fine-tune the 2022 tyre with the new cars if needed. Once the specification has been validated by the FIA, the drivers will have the chance to try out the definitive 18-inch tyres at the test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although we will have to wait for next year’s pre-season tests to see these tyres in action on the 2022 cars for the first time."
The teams are also hard at work on their 2022 cars, each hoping to get a headstart on the competition and hit the ground running next season.