F1 teams to test slick tyres for possible 2009 return

Toro Rosso tyre, 2007 | GEPA / Mathias KneipeissFormula 1 teams will conduct a four-day test on slick tyres in December at Jerez with a view to their re-introduction in 2009.

Slick tyres were banned in F1 after the 1997 season as the FIA tried to constrain escalating cornering speeds by imposing the use of grooved tyres. Jerez is the last circuit at which an F1 race on slick tyres was held.

I wrote earlier this year about how the enforcement of a single tyre supplier from this year meant that grooves could be banned and proper racing slicks brought back.

No other major single seater racing series uses grooved tyres. GP2 did for a single year in 2005, but then got rid of them. The Champ Car World Series uses slick tyres and, like F1, uses Bridgestone as its exclusive tyre supplier.

Efforts to bring back slicks into F1 for 2008 were abandoned.

Bridgestone said:

Bridgestone are supplying these tyres as a response to a request from the teams and the testing committee, as the teams want to gain data as they look to the 2009 season. It is too early for Bridgestone to comment on our tyre range for the 2009 season, however we are always available to discuss ideas with the teams and the FIA.

One other thing springs to mind: If F1 were to switch to slicks, but keep the current rules of having drivers use two different tyres compounds, whey would have to find a different way of making the two types of tyres visibly different as there would no longer be a groove to paint the white line in. F1 could use something like the red sidewall solution preferred in Champ Car.

There is also a rumour that tyre warmers may be banned for next year.

Read more about slick tyres in F1

2009 F1 season

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14 comments on F1 teams to test slick tyres for possible 2009 return

  1. Nathan said on 21st November 2007, 16:34

    All we can do is pray that they come back. Here’s hoping that they’ll be able to get rid of all this stupid aero too.

  2. nellyweb said on 21st November 2007, 16:53

    F1 nirvana!

  3. Scootin159 said on 21st November 2007, 17:21

    I’d love to see not just slicks return, but a tire war. More mechanical grip can only be better for the sport (reducing aero grip at the same time to keep speeds safer), as it makes passing much easier (look at MotoGP to see what can be done with mechanical grip, but no aero grip).

    Another change I’d like to see made (in regards to the tire war) is to eliminate the “teamtire” contracts. I would like to see an end to 2005’s Michelin-team dominance. If the Michelin’s are that good… just run ‘em on your car… potentially switching not just every race, but every pit stop if you want. Maybe we even require each car to use both compounds at some point in the race (similar to the option tire rule now).

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st November 2007, 17:26

    I don’t think we’ll ever see both slicks and a tyre war – cornering speeds would grow enormously and they’d have to make run-off areas even bigger.

  5. Is Max in a coma? How has he allow testing of something that would better the sport?

  6. Next thing you know they’ll make the cars wider. And introduce turbos.

    I am, of course, not serious :P

    Although slicks would be a good idea without driver aids as there is technically more grip.

    If the tyre warmers are banned, does that mean only for the starting grid…I mean, there’s nothing to really stop them from keeping the tyres housed in a furnace in the garage is there?

    Would banning tyre warmers mean more driver control of the cars for the start and first few laps with them starting with less heat? Or is it really just a ban for the sake that they couldn’t find anything else to ban?

  7. Slickes is what EVERY fan wants to see, so they must and will bring it back!
    It can only be an extra help with the good racing.
    And I don’t think they will ban the tyre warmers…because of the safety..altough a proper F1 driver must be able to handle it :)

  8. AmericanTifosi said on 21st November 2007, 18:58

    I really hope they bring slicks back. Hopefully this is the first step in an F1 renassance. How about bringing back the old qualifiyng methoods too? Gumball tyres included.

  9. Wesley said on 21st November 2007, 19:35

    Slicks AND no traction control?Maybe we can get back to some racing!

  10. F1 fan said on 21st November 2007, 22:19

    I dont want them to ban the aero parts in the cars body. There has to be some are in aerodynamics that can be developed and that can give an advantage.

    Making the cars wider and giving them slicks would be a good decision. Removing traction control was a good decision for obvious reasons.

    It is a shame for the sport that almost all areas of development have been so tightly restricted. Of course I understand that safety is important, but I would like to see F1 cars to really be the pinnacle of car technology. They might be just that compared to other series, but I thing you know what i mean :-)

  11. Exactly Wesley slicks no traction control – wheel spin – Smoking starts with a touch of side drift!! – there only need to be 3 types – slick inters and wets – no compulsory changes and get rid of the fuel burning lap in qualifying – sorry that makes to much sense – to me anyway,still can dream though

  12. F1 fan – spot on.

    F1 set itself to be the pinnacle of motorsport, and thats why I hate the regulations of slowing cars down. It brings forth so much technology and understanding of physics – and in a sense, we’re limiting so much discovery just through rules and regulations. Call me an idealist or whatever, but there is so much to be brought forth from F1 research and development.

    Understandably, all the teams try to comply within the rules to attain the highest straight line speed whilst blitzing corners. I don’t deny we live in a health and safety regulated environment, and as the World Drivers Championship started there was no such thing: however, the danger element is so appealing.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible to die in an F1 car – and I do advocate safety for the drivers as I don’t enjoy the death of anyone, let alone someone who’s worked hard to get where they are at…but F1 has become such a procession that the original appeal is virtually lost…in terms of I know it at least.

    When drivers like Kimi pronouncing they’re bored and have to fall back just to set the fastest time to prove a point; and when the aero is limited to following cars, losing front downforce etc. … you wonder why cars cannot be developed by channeling disruptive airflow into something that works.

    I’m not going to talk about the points system, but I still think being a GP winner doesn’t really sound appealing enough when you only drop 2 points for being second. It’s like there’s little motivation to win when you can just be consistent.

    What I’m getting at is that is I’d had rather safety development drew parallel to more speed and associated technologies to bring forth much faster cars and being to properly race with them. Instead, it seems that it’s hell bent on safety development by means of slowing cars down with no motivation to go faster.

    As a kid I saw F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport. To a degree, yes it’s still there, but within a tiny scope of application. It’s almost like Group B rally – address the safety issues, continue the series, and lets see how much the drivers can really push.

  13. powerline2007 said on 22nd November 2007, 6:54

    Slick tires wear out much faster than the present set of tires used in the F1 races. So we’ll see more pit stop strategies coming into play if slicks are the way to go.

  14. Nathan Jones said on 22nd November 2007, 7:12

    slicks returning? am i dreaming or is f1 getting better again?

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