F1 cars currently use 13-inch tyres, but the Italian manufacturer has suggested that running with larger wheels and tyres would lead to greater technology transfer between F1 tyres and road car rubber.
Pirelli, who will demonstrate the one-off concept tyres on a 2014 Lotus, say they will only progress with the initiative if there is a genuine desire from F1 racing’s various stakeholders to follow such a direction.
A move away from 13-inch rubber would not be without its problems, as the tyre forms an important part of a Formula One car’s suspension and damping, hence any change would necessitate a significant re-think of suspension geometry. However, Pirelli say the pay-off of running 18-inch tyres would be increased rigidity through less flexibility in the sidewalls.
“While 18-inch tyres would be a big step for Formula One, there are many other motorsport series that already use this size.So there’s scope to go even bigger than that in Formula One in years to come.
“In order to underline F1’s role as a test bed for future mobility solutions, we believe that it benefits everybody to have as close a link between road car tyres and competition tyres as possible: a belief we have held ever since we introduced the low profile tyre from competition to road use back in the 1970s.
“However, we’d like to emphasise that this move is not something that we are actively pushing for, as our role in Formula One is not to instigate changes. Instead, it’s to help teams and drivers make the most out of the equipment, regulations and resources they have at their disposal - whatever they decide that framework is going to be.”