Michelin says 13-inch Formula 1 wheels are "in the past"

Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couasnon believes Formula 1 will soon switch to 18-inch wheels because the current size of 13-inches is "a thing of the past"

Michelin says 13-inch Formula 1 wheels are "in the past"

Earlier this month Couasnon suggested Michelin was poised to make a return to F1, with the formal tender process for the next three-year contract from 2017 opened this week by the FIA.

Couasnon, however, made clear Michelin would only bid if it could make more durable tyres, and running on 18-inch rims.

"They permit the development of new technologies that can be used for mass-produced road tyres," he said.

Would Michelin's return be bad for F1?

"We believe it is impossible to transfer technology from small-diameter tyres with tall side walls, yet motorsport can play a significant role in speeding up the development of future road-going solutions.

"We need racing tyres to have a similar profile to road tyres to be in a position to develop new technologies."

Couasnon is certain 18-inch wheels will eventually be introduced, despite F1's desire to stand out from the crowd.

"Formula 1 has successfully become more modern in many areas, but it is not a hotbed of innovation in the realm of tyres," he added.

"Single-seater cars racing on 13-inch tyres are a thing of the past.

"In addition to the technology-related considerations, bigger-diameter tyres provide single-seater racing cars with a more modern look.

"At the same time, the gain for drivers notably concerns cornering performance.

"Without making any special effort to fine-tune car set-up, the early testing we carried out last autumn with Renault Sport at Jerez, in Spain, revealed the cars were faster and far more enjoyable to drive simply after replacing the 13-inch tyres with 17 or 18-inch tyres."

Current tyre supplier Pirelli has also conducted its own research and is ready to switch to 18-inch rubber if asked by F1 chiefs.

Around Monaco on Friday former F1 driver Martin Brundle conducted two demo laps in a GP2 car running on 18-inch tyres.

Via social media Brundle remarked he liked the look of the tyre, although added he was unable to see the apex, kerbs or barriers.

Couasnon, though, feels the FIA will soon make the call to switch.

"I think the idea is gaining ground," he said. "The next decisions on the matter will be made at the end of 2015 for a possible introduction in 2017.

"Given the new Formula E championship cars use 18-inch tyres already, and that promotional formulae like the World Series by Renault's FR3.5 and FR2.0 championships which prepare for Formula 1 are perhaps going to follow suit, it seems to me that it's a move that makes sense."

shares
comments
Haas team learning from mistakes of other recent F1 entrants

Previous article

Haas team learning from mistakes of other recent F1 entrants

Next article

Baku F1 organisers close to submitting track layout to FIA

Baku F1 organisers close to submitting track layout to FIA
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021