McLaren trials LED wheel cover lights in F1 post-season testing

McLaren trialled an LED light system on its rear wheel covers during post-season testing in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, offering a sign of future Formula 1 technology.

McLaren trials LED wheel cover lights in F1 post-season testing

During the opening run of Wednesday’s test session at the Yas Marina Circuit, wheel covers were fitted to the rear wheels of Lando Norris’s McLaren car that featured LED lights.

Norris completed only one flying lap using the LED light wheel covers before returning to the pits, after which they were removed for his subsequent running.

It nevertheless served as a taste of future technology that could be introduced to the series in the future. The lights could potentially be used either for team marketing purposes or to provide information such as car position.

“There was an idea to put some LEDs into the wheel covers, to use these wheel covers also for marketing purposes, that means you can display any kind of message,” Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola told Autosport in Abu Dhabi.

“But clearly you have to test them, because the wheel covers are also an element that could unbalance the tyre.

“It’s really important that the tyre is properly balanced, otherwise they start to have vibrations.”

Isola added: “When you fit this [LED light] device and the device is working, you can do whatever you want.

“You can display the position, you can display logos, you can display the lap time in qualifying or something like that. There are many possibilities.

“You have the technology, so it’s easy to programme what you want to display.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M Mule

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M Mule

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Wheel covers will return to F1 next year as part of the overhauled technical regulations, prompting teams to trial them on their modified mule cars during the Abu Dhabi test running.

Teams have been permitted to use Pirelli’s new 18-inch tyres during the test on their mule cars, giving them a chance to pick up some data ahead of their introduction next year.

The additional wheel bodywork, which also includes a deflector over the top of the front wheels, is intended to reduce the wake produced by the wheels as they rotate.

Isola explained that revisions were required for the initial wheel cover designs for the 18-inch tyres to ensure they remained balance, and that pit crews could easily remove the tyres from the car.

“Next year the rims will be standard for everybody, sensors will be standard and rim covers will be standard,” Isola said.

“The first version of the rim cover was very close to the rim, and we had two problems. One was for the mechanics in the pit stops, because they need to put their fingers in and take the tyres off, and with the wheel cover it was not possible, so they had to modify it.

“The second was we couldn’t add the balanced weight on the outside. That’s why if you see the latest version of the wheel cover, there is a shape that is covering the rim, but then you have a step closer to the rim that is useful for the mechanics to take the tyre and for us to balance the weight.

“With this final version, we can balance the tyre when it’s fitted with the wheel and the wheel cover. Otherwise, if you add the wheel cover after balancing, it can be a problem.”

shares
comments

Related video

Co-founder of Lotus Hazel Chapman dies aged 94
Previous article

Co-founder of Lotus Hazel Chapman dies aged 94

Next article

Why the FIA must not bury its head in the sand over Abu Dhabi F1 fallout

Why the FIA must not bury its head in the sand over Abu Dhabi F1 fallout
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022