Pirelli has completed testing on its new 18 inch Formula 1 tyre, which will replace the 13 inch tyre for next year’s season. The program was concluded with a wet tyre test in France at Paul Ricard, performed by Alpine driver Daniil Kvyat.
The move to low-profile tyres represents a “technical revolution for the pinnacle of world motorsport”, according to Pirelli. It required an intensive research and development programme that featured both indoor and outdoor testing.
Compared to the previous generation 13-inch covers, the move to 18 inch marks a “clean-sheet design”, with Pirelli’s engineers re-thinking every element of the tyre: from the profile to the structure to the compounds.
There were 28 days of track testing for the new 18-inch tyres throughout 2021, making a grand total of 36 including the test days carried out at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, before a delay to the programme due to the pandemic.
The development campaign for the new 18-inch tyres was a “comprehensive operation” from start to finish, Pirelli said. It involved more than 10,000 hours of indoor testing, more than 5,000 hours of simulation, and more than 70 prototypes developed virtually, which resulted in 30 physical specifications tested on-track by the drivers.
Pirelli said a total of 4,267 laps were driven, making up more than 20,000 kilometres. The number of sets used was 392, equivalent to 1,568 tyres.
Pirelli added that nearly all the teams took part in its test programme along with 19 drivers: 15 of whom are regular competitors in F1.
Mario Isola, head of F1 and car racing, Pirelli, commented: “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.
“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.”