Latest News / Headline

Pirelli: 18-inch tyre trial met all objectives

09 Jul 2014

Pirelli achieved all they set out to accomplish in the demonstration of a prototype 18-inch Formula One tyre, according to the Italian company's motorsport director Paul Hembery.

Lotus trialled the low profile tyres during Wednesday morning of the second day of in-season testing at Silverstone, with Charles Pic racking up 14 laps in total. His fastest time was a 1m 44.728s, nine seconds down on the midday benchmark of 1m 35.544s set by Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat.

Hembery, who stressed Pirelli will only progress with the initiative should it be supported by F1 racing's various stakeholders, said the Italian manufacturer had nevertheless met all of their basic objectives.

"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 rim.

"We will supply the people in the 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.

"We also confirmed what we knew: 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."

While the evaluation is aimed at a possible switch in 2017, Hembery said Pirelli could make them available one year earlier, from the start of 2016, should the sport desire so.

"These tyres are absolutely [a genuine starting point] - they would pass our normal safety tests and you could go running with them now if you wanted to," he said.

Hembery also stressed that Lotus had made minimal changes to adapt to the new rubber, adding: "we asked them essentially to do a running promo, so the changes on the car were kept to a minimum. I believe quite big changes would be needed to adapt to a product that is so substantially different."