F1 teams to test slick tyres for possible 2009 return

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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