Pirelli 18-inch tyre rendering

Pirelli reveal 18-inch tyre design ahead of test

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine


Pirelli have revealed how the 18-inch wheel and tyre they intend to test at Silverstone tomorrow will look.

Formula One cars currently run on 13-inch tyres, but Pirelli believe a switch to lower-profile rubber will make F1 tyre technology more relevant to road cars.

“The 13-inch tyre is no longer relevant to the everyday road user, because even an 18-inch tyre is used by standard vehicles these days.=,” said Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery.

“While 18-inch tyres would be a big step for Formula One, there are many other motorsport series that already use this size. So there’s scope to go even bigger than that in Formula One in years to come.”

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Image © Pirelli

134 comments on “Pirelli reveal 18-inch tyre design ahead of test”

  1. Sex on wheels!

    1. Yep, sexy indeed!

  2. Definitely looks better than the current 13-inch ones. Hope they’re also quicker.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      8th July 2014, 13:03

      @keithcollantine – I’m fully conscious that it’s childish part of my inner petrolhead that thinks 18in rims on an F1 car looks cooler than 13in (the same part that is obsessed with the Zonda F Roadster), but I really don’t care, because, well…phwoar!!!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        8th July 2014, 14:04

        +1 for Zonda being awesome.

    2. Agree as well. Looks great.

    3. While I agree they look “cooler”, I quite like the look of the current wheels. They are different.

      Also, performance is what we need to know about. I don’t think bolting them on this year’s cars is going to be representative of that. The larger rims and lower profile will bring big changes to the handling. The suspension will need to be altered, and many other aspects of the car changed, to see the true benefit (or otherwise) of the new wheel design.

    4. And more durable.

    5. Hope they’re also quicker

      Yeah, quicker and durable.

    6. BJ (@beejis60)
      8th July 2014, 15:50

      @keithcollantine While I agree with you, this will undoubtedly increase costs for the teams by a very very large amount.

    7. Agreed, I thought it’s going to be ugly,but fortunately, no.
      Also if they’ll put these tyres, is there a possibility for the brakes to be bigger? Current brakes are pretty powerful, and I don’t know if bigger ones could be allowed.

      1. @marik They probably could (regulations permitting), but i’m not sure brake size is a limiting factor just now. I think maybe the grip of the tyre on the track surface is what limits braking power (hence lockups when drivers brake harder than the grip level can cope with).

        1. True, completely forgot about traction.

    8. Really? I can’t see how that looks great. I dislike unporportioned racing cars and in many ways these cars with the high and narrow rear wings are odd but this new wheels are very odd to me. I always prefered the rare old Lotus high profile wheels.

  3. I know it’s only a rendered image, but they look really nice

  4. Just like in other cars, this is about asthetics, not performance. And i dont like it personally. Its not F1 to me.

    1. erm, no. It does have performance benefits too.

      1. Not really. A lot of the suspension compliance in current cars is derived from the tire. A lower profile tire will just make engineers adjust the suspension accordingly so that overall compliance will be the same as now.

        Looks good to me, though.

        1. Surely the ‘give’ that you get from the sidewall when cornering wouldn’t be put back in with suspension adjustments? I would have thought you’d want as little sideways movement as possible.

          1. Think of it this way: sidewall deformation in cornering has an effect on how engineers determine camber settings (among other things). They already adjust those settings for maximum “grip” and durability results within the window of what tires will allow. Changing the profile of the tire just moves the window; it doesn’t change the net result.

            That said, a lack of deformation in cornering could have an effect on aero.

          2. Actually, ignore the above, because I mangled my response terribly.

            For any given tread width and compound, there’s a window for suspension settings like camber, caster, toe, etc, to get the most from a tire. Any change in profile just moves the window for those settings, as long as tread width and compound remain the same.

          3. Its’ not so much about the lateral deformation of the tyres but rather the ‘squash’. When a car is going across the rumble strip for instance, at the moment the tyre is deforming over that surface while the suspension isn’t moving very much. On a car with low profile tyres, it’ll need to have a more pliant suspension setup with a greater range of movement – the tyre can’t deform and remain in contact wiht those kind of bumps, so the suspension needs to do the job instead.

            But this isn’t a drawback, it’s a benefit. Springs and dampers are a fairly precise science, and can be controlled to quite a fine degree. Whereas the squash of a tyre is dependent on a large number of factors – tyre pressure, heat, level of wear, and so on. The level of suash and deformation is not a constant; it shifts during the race (and is one of the reasons why different cars seem to work better at different points in the race and during stints). Whereas with a low profile tyre the performance level is pretty constant.

            You also do lose that lateral movement, which isn’t desirable since the frequency of the lateral movement isn’t the same as the frequency of the chassis, meaning you can get a sort of disharmony between how the chassis and the tyres load up during cornering. You can end up with a weird backlash against the tyre as the suspension is put under load, which can make the car really unstable and unpredictable while changing direction. Again, this isn’t a constant and it’s not something that’s easy to predict, so it’s pot luck whether or not a car really suffers from this. And again, a low profile minimises this effect, giving a more reliable reaction no matter the application.

          4. I would say these tyres should be far easier to model around in simulation because they deform less.
            And the smaller deflection should als help with traction and efficiency.

          5. @dysthanasiac @bascb The reduced tyre deformation should make the contact patch more consistent (and likewise the aero around the wheel), and also affect the amount of heat they can work into the tyre.

            The reduced mass of they tyre itself will also mean that it will probably lose heat quicker, although I’m unsure how this will interact with the now larger wheels and – I presume – brakes.

          6. Another possible consequence might be that if they have to make the suspension more robust with a greater range of motion, you may start to see cars with a lower chassis, to keep the CoG as low as possible. It depends on whether the added weight of the suspension starts to overpower the aerodynamic benefit of having the front of the chassis high up.

          7. @fluxsource

            The increased size of the rim will actually increase unsprung mass, as F1 tire sidewalls are paper thin, and reducing them will have a negligible effect on weight. http://i.imgur.com/qLQSxX2.jpg

            As far as getting heat into the tires, its the act of deformation that causes tires to build heat. So, naturally, decreased deformation will tend to make it more difficult to build heat. It’s analogous to the difference between hard and soft compounds. (Pirelli will no doubt use a different compound tomorrow to offset this.)

            Again, without an increase in tread width or diameter, the contact won’t change; only the settings teams will use to make the most of it.

            I really don’t see a way around the reality that it’s a cosmetic change driven by current trends in consumer tire sales. Folks just tend to prefer buying low-profile tires, and that’s Pirelli’s “road relevance,” I suppose.

          8. The smaller volume of air/nitrogen in the tyres should have less effect on tyre pressure rise with temperature.

          9. @dysthanasiac – Low profile tyres will reduce unsprung weight which will improve handling.


          10. @jimbo

            I’m an infrequent commentor here, so my posts are being moderated. In any case, I’ve talked about unsprung mass; it just hasn’t show up yet.

            To take a bit of step back, because I initially posted without having my first cup of morning w̶h̶i̶s̶k̶e̶y̶ coffee, here’s what I think:

            A tire’s “grip” potential is defined by its compound, contact patch, and generally nothing else. A tire’s contact patch is defined by its tread width, diameter, and nothing else. Since the tire’s outer dimensions will not change with a switch to 18-inch tires, their “grip” potential cannot change without a corresponding change in compound. (This will happen, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

            F1 tires are so thin that reducing the size of the sidewall will have a negligible effect on their weight ( http://i.imgur.com/qLQSxX2.jpg , and keep in mind dry tires are even thinner). But, rim weight will increase appreciably with a low-profile tire, because it will have to be larger. Thus, unsprung mass will actually increase.

            I’ve seen in mentioned that low-profile tires will make it easier to maintain tire pressure. While I think the difference is nominal, it’s nonetheless false. Tire pressure relates to gas volume and temperature inside the tire. As much as it will be easier to bring the tires up to pressure because of their reduced volume, it will be that much easier to lose pressure for the same reason. But, again, this won’t really matter so much.

            It’s been said that the decreased tire deformation that will result from stiffer sidewalls will make it easier to build heat into the tires. This also isn’t true. Tire deformation itself is what builds heat into tires. Less deformation will then make doing so more difficult. Think of the difference between hard and soft compounds.

            Speaking of compounds, and absent suspension settings, which is a rather large topic, if low-profile tires were made with current compounds, they wouldn’t work, because everything I’ve mentioned thus far, and more, has to be taken into account when constructing a tire. Pirelli will have to change compounds in order to successfully switch to low-profile tires.

            As we all know, “grip” levels are artificially manipulated by Pirelli according to the wishes of the FIA and others for the sake of dictating performance. I don’t expect that philosophy to change, so I don’t expect Pirelli to change the tire’s performance characteristics when changing construction to accommodate larger rims.

            Basically, the only thing I see changing if F1 goes to a low-profile tire is how the tires look, because teams will be left with the same contact patch and compound performance characteristics. They’ll just have to make use of them in a different way: (expensive) suspension changes.

            Make sense?

          11. @dysthanasiac

            I think a disagree with you to an extent regarding the contact patch. While the ideal contact patch will vary only by width and diameter, in reality this is effected by tire deformation as well. When cornering, the inside edge of the tire will “roll” over, increasing the contact, while on the outside edge the tire will tend to lift, reducing it. While these effects are small, they are not insignificant, and additionally play an important part in the pattern of damage through tire use.

            I’m not sure who suggested that a stiffer tire will be easier to heat – I just can’t see how someone can come to that conclusion. As to your comment regarding the thinness of the tires meaning the weight difference is negligible – I’ll take your word for it. My initial instinct would be that low profile tires, with lower mass in the tire, would be able to store less energy for a given temperature rise, making it more difficult to keep within the operating window; they’d more difficult to get heat into (as mentioned), but when you do it’s easy to put too much in and overheat them, and they are quicker to cool and drop out of the window. Whether or not this is true I don’t know – I’d need to know a lot more detail about the construction of both tires, and I simply don’t have that info.

            Another area that I haven’t seen considered, is punctures. If a car loses a tire, the weird crabbing effect of effectively losing a leg will be reduced, an this may result in differences in damage sustained.

          12. @dysthanasiac

            A tyre’s contact patch is defined by more than diameter and tread width. When a tyre is pressurised it is not perfectly flat across the width and this is compounded when rotating at speed. The contact patch is generally more oval in shape. A lower profile tyre will reduce the effects of deformation due to weight of the car and centrifugal effects when rotating. The slip angle of a low profile tyre under cornering will also be reduced, again improving predictability and handling.

            The picture that you show whilst pretty says nothing about the weight of a tyre or the difference between the tread and the side wall. The weight of a tyre is ~9kg for a front and ~11kg for the rear with the hub ~2.5-3kg. Reducing the side wall size of the tyre by 5 inches could reduce weight by more than 2kg whilst increasing the hub size will add ~0.5kg.

            As for building heat in the tyre, it is the deformation of the tread that generates the heat required to keep the tyres in their operating window, not the sidewall. As mentioned before, the contact patch will remain more consistent for a lower profile tyre which will lead to more consistent heating across the tyre width reducing uneven wear and graining.

            As the tyre will behave more predictably and there will be less undamped elastic motion within the tyre, suspension will become easier to design and control.

        2. Richard Howson
          8th July 2014, 13:17

          There is a direct performance benefit due to more control of the cars suspension. The current Tyre sidewalls are effectively an un-dampened spring (not of the teams design) which the engineers can only tune directly by changing the Tyre pressure, which in turn has implications in terms of the contact patch for the Tyre. Given the option, any engineer would rather have smaller Tyre sidewalls and then have greater scope for suspension tuning directly via the suspension components which the teams design themselves. Curb riding ability will be much more controllable as will roll during quick changes of direction.

        3. Jake (@jakehardyf1)
          8th July 2014, 14:02

          Possible less rotational inertia from more magnesium alloy and less tyre rubber.

          As simple as it can be, 1/2 mv^2 can be applied to find the angular rotational moment of inertia (again, not the 100% correct way to calculate), but it is close enough.

          Anyway, it is weighted towards to angular velocity of the tyre, and with a larger diameter, that will play a role however I predict the reduction in weight will be great enough to compensate for more angular velocity, that in tern is applied to kinetic energy and momentum.

        4. @fluxsource

          I think a disagree with you to an extent regarding the contact patch. While the ideal contact patch will vary only by width and diameter, in reality this is effected by tire deformation as well. When cornering, the inside edge of the tire will “roll” over, increasing the contact, while on the outside edge the tire will tend to lift, reducing it. While these effects are small, they are not insignificant, and additionally play an important part in the pattern of damage through tire use.

          And this is where suspension settings come into place. It’s an enormous subject for which I’m not an expert, but I do know enough to know that settings like bound, rebound, jounce, heave, toe, camber, caster, etc affect the contact patch as it relates to wheel rate, roll rate/moment, slip angle, etc. Teams will simply adjust those settings, and redesign components, accordingly.

          I know it seems counterintuitive to think that a move from 13-inch to 18-inch tires will have an inconsequential impact on performance, but that’s the case nonetheless. It’s why teams have historically been hesitant to make to change; there’s nothing to gain from it.

          Marketing exposure for Pirelli, on the other hand, will change, because people like the way low-profile tires look, and, for whatever reason, they seem to think they work better. Maybe it’s the aggressive appearance.

          I really like the way they look, too.

        5. @jimbo

          With all due respect, and I mean that, what you appear to find intuitive about a potential change from 13-inch to 18-inch tires/rims is in conflict with reality. You seem to be thinking of things in static terms, I guess, when they’re just not.

          I recommend this, or something like it, if you’re really interested in the subject: http://books.google.com/books?id=JCHDuED3WIkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Tyre+and+Vehicle+Dynamics&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JS-9U-GsA8nf8gGr7YDoCg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Tyre%20and%20Vehicle%20Dynamics&f=false

          Sorry I wasn’t more helpful.

          1. @dysthanasiac

            I was clearly referencing dynamic terms. If you think that changing from 13″ to 18″ rims will have no noticeable difference on tyre dynamics such as contact patch which makes them more resistant to deforming under lateral load resulting in a more predictable and stable contact patch,
            then maybe you are the one who need to read the book. Essentially you can get to a higher lateral load before reaching the peak slip angle with lower profile tyres, and that is before getting onto the other subjects of weight savings and more predictable behaviour due to lower rotating mass and more restricted movement of that mass.

          2. @jimbo

            We must be talking past each other, because I’ve not said that tire dynamics won’t change. What I’ve said, or at least have been trying to say, is that the difference in “grip” between a properly tuned suspension with 13-inch tires and a properly tuned suspension with 18-inch tires will be zero. In other words, the variables will change, but the outcome of the equation will be the same.

            Correct me where I go wrong, but I’m getting the impression that you’re asserting there will, in fact, be a difference in “grip,” no?

          3. @dysthanasiac

            Yes, there will be a difference in dynamic levels of “grip” that is unrelated to suspension. Would you agree that under a lateral load a lower profile tyre will deform less? Would you also agree that this will lead to a more consistent contact patch?

          4. @jimbo

            Yes, I agree that a low-profile tire will deform less under lateral load. But, that won’t result in more “grip,” because, generally speaking, a suspension tuned properly for that tire, versus one tuned properly for a relatively high-profile tire of the same tread width and diameter, will have decreased wheel rate, roll rate, and camber stiffness in order to avoid overloading the tire and breaking traction. You can only ask so much of a contact path, regardless of its consistency, which, incidentally, should more or less remain the same if the engineer in charge of setup is worth his or her salt. Ignoring those factors will result in substantially less “grip” as well as dramatically increased wear and degradation.

            Make sense?

          5. @dysthanasiac

            Suspension settings cannot correct for a deformed contact patch. A more stable contact patch will allow you to get closer to peak slip angles under lateral load. Camber, caster, toe etc can only do so much and is always a trade off to the ideal. Low profile tyres will give one less variable to correct for. If we can’t agree on this then we will have to agree to disagree.

          6. @jimbo

            There’s no such thing as a “deformed contact patch.” This is where your intuition is failing you spectacularly, and you don’t seem to realize it.

            And I’m sorry I’ve been unable to help.

            Again, check out Pacejka, as he quite literally wrote the book on modern tire design. His theories form the basis from which virtually all tires are now constructed. Until then, yes, let’s agree to disagree.

          7. There’s no such thing as a “deformed contact patch.”


            “If a side-slip velocity u is introduced, the contact patch will be deformed.”


            Section 13.6 covers tyre and contact patch deformation.


            Section 2.2.1 details some of the physics grip associated with contact patch and how it changes depending on deformation due to slip angle and other forces.

            But no, there is not such thing as “deformed contact patch”.

            And I’m sorry I’ve been unable to help.

            Thank you for your condescending comment.

          8. @jimbo

            I genuinely didn’t mean that condescendingly. I’m sorry it came off that way.

            But, I’m glad you’ve glanced through excerpts of the book. A more thorough reading will put things into proper context, and you’ll see that the shape of a tire’s contact patch is largely immaterial as long as it remains the same size. If you could somehow conjure up a contact patch that looks like a five-point star, it would have no impact on “grip” compared to any other contact patch of equal area. (Given the same compound, naturally.)

            Think about it: what’s the difference in surface area between a 10m2 square and a 10m2 rectangle? Nothing. (Sorta like: which weighs more, ten pounds of hammers or ten pounds of feathers?)

            Bottom line: managing the contact patch of a low-profile tire is no easier or more difficult than doing so with a high-profile tire; it’s just different, but modifying suspension design to accommodate it is expensive. With no reward to be gained in terms of performance, teams have historically balked at making the change.

    2. +1
      i don’t like it, its not f1, its road cars, i can watch btcc for low profile tyres. The high profile acts as suspension and is integral to the performance of the vehicle. I enjoy watching the wheels bounce and wobble when they go over the curbs, they are the one of the only visible working components of the car.

      1. But why on earth would you want tyres to act as suspension? Surely the suspension to play it’s role fully and tyres that play less of this role is beneficial to performance.

        I like it, a lot.

      2. Low profile tyres do provide a net performance benefit however – its why all performance cars and road cars have moved to the huge rims.

        The biggest reason being that low profile tyres reduce rolling resistance, and hence improve acceleration and top speed. Essentially the engine will have to do less to power the car and more power is released to further improve performance in both efficiency and ultimate laptime.

        The only real issue is the redesign and recalibration of the suspension members, but seeing as the teams have already been through an albeit less radical change from pushrod to pullrod suspension of their own accord, any bleating they do about this is in my opinion farcical. Plus imagine if Michelin decides to come back!

        1. It is not always the case that an increase in tyre diameter yields an improvement in performance – the Top Gear magazine recently carried out a test with the latest generation VW Golf GTi on standard rims and the optional larger rims to assess the impact of the larger rims.

          In that instance, they found that the increased compliance of the higher profile tyres not only improved the ride quality, the handling of the car was better on the Top Gear circuit too (to the tune of about a second a lap faster on the standard tyres rather than the larger low profile tyres).
          It is about striking a balance on the compliance of the tyres and the effect that has on factors such as the suspension set up – it does not necessarily follow that a larger tyre will automatically improve performance.

          In the case of road cars there is an additional incentive in providing larger rims, which is the ability to fit larger brake disks for improved braking performance – after all, if you are tuning a car up to be faster, you generally want to be able to slow it down more quickly as well…

        2. It is not always the case that an increase in tyre diameter yields an improvement in performance – the Top Gear magazine recently carried out a test with the latest generation VW Golf GTi on standard rims and the optional larger rims to assess the impact of the larger rims.

          In that instance, they found that the increased compliance of the higher profile tyres not only improved the ride quality, the handling of the car was better on the Top Gear circuit too (to the tune of about a second a lap faster on the standard tyres rather than the larger low profile tyres).
          It is about striking a balance on the compliance of the tyres and the effect that has on factors such as the suspension set up – it does not necessarily follow that a larger tyre will automatically improve performance.

          In the case of road cars there is an additional incentive in providing larger rims, which is the ability to fit larger brake disks for improved braking performance – after all, if you are tuning a car up to be faster, you generally want to be able to slow it down more quickly as well…

    3. +1 yet another change for show rather than go, the suspension changes needed to make these work will be $$$

    4. No, it is a performance enhancement too. You want to reduce unsprung weight which these tyres will allow:


      1. This won’t reduce unsprung weight, as anyone who tracks cars occasionally will tell you that larger wheels actually increase unsprung weight. You are increasing the wheel diameter drastically, which will increase the amount of material it takes to construct the wheel, and therefor increasing weight. Unless they drastically change the composition of the wheel no way that the unsprung weight gets lighter. And F1 wheels are already composed of a magnesium alloy, you really can’t get lighter than that.

        From your own link supporting what I wrote “Reducing unsprung weight is the key to improving handling… Note that as the wheel diameter or width increases, the weight of the overall wheel and tire package increases, thereby INCREASING unsprung weight.” May need to reread your source.

      2. Coulthard commented that the current large sidewall exacerbated Kimi’s accident at the British GP

    5. It makes it look very cheap. Like a boy racer’s car. I guess people that like these new wheels also like angel eye specs and listen to listen to van halen whislt tryng to do the split and adjust their make-up.

  5. Yes, to more mechanical grip.

  6. Aqib (@aqibqadeer)
    8th July 2014, 12:24

    F1 might look beautiful again..these tyres look great

  7. Wow, didn’t quite know what to expect but they look pretty damn good to me! The deep dish rears are just plain sexy!

  8. Milky White
    8th July 2014, 12:27

    The lower profile tyre gives the visual impression that that wheels are wider, even though they are not. It makes it look more 1990’s tyre widths but maintaining the same width they have now.

  9. I really like much more than 13″. Expect that FIA will accept these new iteration of wheel.

  10. Quite frankly I don’t care about road car relevance unless it’s really in the interests of the sport. It made sense with the engines to avoid a load of manufacturers pulling out (although that wouldn’t have been too big a disaster if there were smaller engine companies ready to step in, and Mercedes and Renault leaving didn’t mean the collapse of several teams due to funding). I’m not convinced that this will make anybody care about F1 more than they do already. So I’d rather they did whatever’s best for performance. If it’s this, so be it. If keeping the current tyres- which have a somewhat iconic feel- is better due to their more significant role as a suspension component, then that’s fine too.

    I fear that Pirelli want to do this so that they can make their involvement in F1 more marketable by being better related to the tyres they sell us. If that’s the only reason then it is a poor one, as they clearly will keep supplying F1 regardless and I’m sure that plenty of other companies would take over if not.

    1. This would be for the good of the sport, last time the tyre supply contract was up for renewal the only company (other than Pirelli) that had the desire and ability to supply tyres was Michelin and their interest was dependent on a switch to low profile tyres on 18 inch rims.

      1. Eh, bad for Pirelli then. If no one is interested, they can maintain that contract for much longer.

  11. It looks good, as I’ve expected and those tyres should be introduced as soon as possible. FIA and teams always talk about relevance to road cars but anyone rarely mentions bigger wheels, which aestethically is the first thing, that viewers can see and understand. Kudos to Pirelli, which by showing how 18 inch wheels look on F1 cars indirectly urge FIA to change them.

  12. I really like the look of those wheels.

    +1 to Pirelli for having the kiwis to try this

  13. Uhm,

    where are the real pics?

    Got anything @keithcollantine ?

    1. It says the test is tomorrow.

  14. I’ve always really liked the beefy look of 13″ tires, especially since many other racing classes have already made the switch, it made F1 look more unique. They look very plain to me, and don’t work as well aesthetically on an open wheel design.

    Not really that big a deal either way, but I’m surprised to see such unanimous affection for the 18″ones.

    1. @bs I completely agree with you here.

      I’m not a fan of the look, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

      I can think of far worse things such fake grid restarts, double points, etc. that they should try to avoid putting in. Oh, hang on..

    2. @bs Yes it’s weird that people like the 18″ wheels that much, personally I think they should’ve gone with 15″-16″, it’s still relevant for Pirelli but it doesn’t look completely out of place in an F1 car, not that it matters that much though, as all of us will get used to it sooner or later.

  15. Are they going to chrome the hub caps too, maybe put spinners on. It all seems a bit pimp my ride

  16. Does anyone know how these would affect tyre performance? My thoughts would be:

    1) Lower profile means less deflection – so lower contact patch area and less grip?
    2) Lower deflection would give drivers better feel, more predictable tyre performance?
    3) Lower internal volume so faster warmup times
    4) Heavier wheels have higher inertia, so require more energy to accelerate or deccelerate – slower in a straight line and less fuel efficient. Also marginally slower in corners due to higher weight.
    5) Less tyre travel over bumps so suspension would need to be softer to compensate.
    6) Possible to have larger brake discs but don’t think this is a limiting factor currently.

    Overall, it looks like this might be a marginal decrease in performance by my reasoning. Maybe these factors can be compensated in the tyre design, but Pirelli will still need to meet their targets for degredation. Would be interested to know what others think/know from other series.

    1. Heavier wheels have higher inertia, so require more energy to accelerate or deccelerate – slower in a straight line and less fuel efficient. Also marginally slower in corners due to higher weight.

      Would they actually be heavier? And more important for rotational inertia would be where the concentration of the weight is.

      1. I don’t think they would be heavier. I’m pretty sure the rubber of the tyre is heavier than the metal alloy of the wheel.

        1. maybe you’re right, i was hoping someone would know for sure ;)

        2. I also think the wheels would be about the same weight, maybe a tad lighter.

          The surface/contact patch might be wider because of greater stability (with smaller side walls) much like Pirelly tried to give the teams with the steel belt carcass last year.

          As for Brake discs, it might be that they get larger but thinner which would actually help with aerodynamics (because its easier to cool them like that meaning less need for big air ducts).

      2. I think so, because the wheel itself (made of metal or similar materials) will be larger while previously that space was taken up by the tyre, which is just rubber with air (or whatever fancy gas mixture they might use) in the middle.

        1. The rims aren’t solid so are essentially just super-lightweight metal with air in the middle.

    2. Lower profile certainly means larger contact patch and more constant one.

      Also there would be less unwanted movement in the sidewall, that should increase the positive effects of good suspension systems.
      This is often mentioned on the commentary, how most of the suspension effectively is in the tyre sidewall, because we have such high sidewalls now, but it isn’t actually good for performance. What it basically means is that the tyres bounce uncontrollably. Modern multi-element suspension systems are soooo much better at maintaining a constant contact with the surface than a plain, non adjustable, peace of rubber.

      By my understating all the changes point to increased performance, of course depending on the effectiveness of the design.

      Maybe except for the larger wheel rim. I don’t know how the mass distribution comperes, and if it has larger rotational inertia it would affect the acceleration slightly, but not the grip, or cornering. But this would again depend on the design of the rim and there has not yet been an 18” hardcore F1 performance wheel rim.

      They should probably allow carbon fiber wheels if they go ahead with this.

      1. @mateuss Interesting points regarding suspension and contact patch, i hadn’t thought of it that way. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether the larger rims will increase or decrease unsprung weight, or whether the overall performance will be better or worse. The teams or Pirelli will hopefully give a definitive answer soon (unless the difference is extremely marginal).

    3. I understand reducing unsprung mass is the most compelling reason for this change.

      The rubber of existing tyres is as light weight as it can be. They tried reducing weight last year and this was a big fail, as we well know.

      So the only option available is to reduce the amount of rubber without compromising integrity. An 18″ wheel with suitable rubber is the answer (or rather, the best compromise).

  17. Not only look these tires good on that car, the car looks good as well. Let’s hope that’s what the new rules of 2015 lead to, because this really looks promising.

  18. marc512 (@)
    8th July 2014, 13:19


    look at the size of them! They are huge!

    1. There aren’t any pictures of them on that link!

      1. marc512 (@)
        8th July 2014, 16:37

        Look at the lotus on the wets and compare it to the other wheels ;)

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          8th July 2014, 18:59

          The wets and inters have a larger circumference which lets the car sit higher.

        2. Those are the current wheels and wet’s that are literally 10mm in diameter larger then the dry’s and have been for years.

    2. thats a good example of reactionary alarm-ism. those in the picture are the current rims and tyres. no freak out necessary here

  19. I personally don’t like the look of big wheels, on road cars or on racing cars. For me, small wheels and fat high-profile slicks are one of the fundamental defining characteristics of an F1 car.

    1. Yes, this whole forward motion in evolving how the cars look and behave is nonsense! Look at all this aerodynamics film flammery. Cigar shaped tubes are the fundamental defining characteristic of an F1 car. We shouldn’t allow change for the sake of progress.

      1. Pirelli themselves have stated that the decision to move to larger rims is really driven by the marketing potential than the technological transfer potential though – it would be like reintroducing the ‘shark fin’ engine covers on the cars solely for the purpose of increasing the advertising space…

  20. Michael Brown (@)
    8th July 2014, 13:56

    I’m looking forward to how these wheels work in the test tomorrow. One question though: Which part of the wheel is heavier, the metal or the rubber?

    1. Dave (@raceprouk)
      8th July 2014, 14:30

      Rubber, by some margin

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