Formula 1's wheel size increase should be 'huge' says Pirelli

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says Formula 1 should make a "huge jump" in tyre size and not get fixated on proposals for 18-inch wheels

Formula 1's wheel size increase should be 'huge' says Pirelli

With Pirelli and Michelin going head-to-head for F1's new tyre-supply contract from 2017, a battle is on to convince the FIA which firm has the right technical and sporting approach for the future.

Michelin has joined the push for 18-inch wheel rims, but despite showcasing such a design on a GP2 car ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix in May, Pirelli has reservations over that concept.

Hembery told AUTOSPORT: "To be honest the only appetite for going to 18, or something else, has come from external factors.

"The teams are actually very consistent by saying they want to stay with 13 and you can look at it two ways.

"I could sit here and say 18, to be honest, isn't relevant at all because that's what we put on our standard cars.

"In reality, if you want to do something dramatic, you'd sit on 19 at least, but probably 20 or 21 because that's where the top-end [road] cars are these days.

"So if you're doing it, you'd want to make a huge jump.

"The majority of our circuit racing is done on 18-inch tyres already, so 18 isn't that unique.

"Some could argue 13 makes you stand out, and there are some people and some fans who say that.

"We know that to make an 18, 19 or 13-inch has the same amount of technology and technical requirements, so it's almost irrelevant."

There is a greater consensus over the width of the tyres themselves, with a proposal for switching from the current 375mm width to 420, a tyre last seen on a F1 car in 1992, for the 2017 season.

"The only area where they all seem to be very much in agreement is going for wider rear tyres, which when you see it on a car looks pretty dramatic," added Hembery.

"It does make a car stand out.

"It is a very big visible change that stands out and people will look at that and go 'phwoar, that's a tyre!'

"Even the 18-inch we ran in Monaco looked different rather than 'wow', but the wider tyres do have that wow factor."

shares
comments
David Coulthard: Ferrari F1 team should look beyond Kimi Raikkonen
Previous article

David Coulthard: Ferrari F1 team should look beyond Kimi Raikkonen

Next article

Force India now aiming to beat Red Bull to fourth in F1 standings

Force India now aiming to beat Red Bull to fourth in F1 standings
Load comments
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021