First pictures: Pirelli & Lotus begin 18-inch wheel test

2014 F1 season

Lotus E22, Silverstone, 2014

Pirelli and Lotus have begun their test of 18-inch wheels and tyres at Silverstone.

The team’s E22 chassis is running on the prototype rubber for the second day of testing today. It will be driven by Charles Pic.

Formula One rules currently stipulate the use of 13-inch wheels. Pirelli have said they only intend to pursue the idea providing there is agreement from “the teams, promoter and other stakeholders” to do so.

Although the new rubber has the same width as the 13-inch tyres, its diameter is 30mm larger. The total weight of the tyre plus wheel is 4kg heavier.

The main advantage of the lower profile rubber, according to Pirelli, is that as it contains less air the pressure within it remains more consistent.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says he was pleased with the test and response to it. “In our view, the new tyres looked stunning fitted to the Lotus, and the reaction has already been felt all over the world,” he said.

“These are just a prototype concept, but if the teams decided that they wanted us to proceed in this direction, we have the capability to carry on development in this area and come up with a production-ready version in a comparatively short space of time. We’ve heard a lot of opinions already and we look forward to canvassing other opinions in the coming weeks and months.

“Even though performance wasn’t by any means priority here, the new tyres still behaved exactly in line with our expectations, so we’re clearly potentially at the beginning of a huge development curve, with the wheel and tyre size rules having remained unaltered for many years.”

Pic gave his impression of driving on the new wheels: “It was a very early evaluation test and the different tyres and wheels affect the aerodynamics of the car quite a lot,” he said, “but you could certainly feel that the tyres felt different to those we’re used to on an F1 car”.

2014 F1 season


Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Image via Lotus on Twitter

Advert | Go Ad-free

145 comments on First pictures: Pirelli & Lotus begin 18-inch wheel test

1 2 3 6
  1. spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 9th July 2014, 9:30

    Nice! Really looking good. However with tyre degradation, They’ll look like trains after 5 laps! :)

    • Chris (@cgturbo) said on 9th July 2014, 13:21

      @spoutnik

      Well, they always said the cars run on rails XD

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th July 2014, 13:24

      I SERIOUSLY don’t like it…

      • DaveD (@daved) said on 9th July 2014, 14:46

        Just wait till they add the spinning rims to improve “the show” next year! LMAO!!!!

        • otto said on 9th July 2014, 15:07

          exactly!! also put chrome, hidraulic suspension and some hip hop during race, jeesh, the f1 sucks and gonna sucks more

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th July 2014, 15:48

          @daved it looks like a train… 18 inches is way too much… there’s so much empty space in the middle of the rim, the discs look tiny.

          I don’t see this as a needed change…

          • DaveD (@daved) said on 9th July 2014, 16:00

            Yeah, I thought I’d like it, but I’m not sure now that I’ve seen it. I’d get used to it, but it looks just “strange”.

            I wonder what it does to the overall weight of the wheels? Less rubber, but longer spokes on the magnesium allow wheels….would it balance out or be slightly lighter/heavier???

            Would the contact patch be more consistent with less tyre deformation? Does anyone have technical details about how this would affect performance?

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 9th July 2014, 18:03

            Remember the current brakes are designed to fit in 13″ rims

          • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 10th July 2014, 3:00

            @raceprouk I seriously down FIA wants braking distance to be shorter…

            @daved I bet they are heavier. It also needs more torque to rotate, there’s more mass, more unsprung weight…

            Again, I don’t see this as a necessary change…

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 10th July 2014, 8:14

            @fer-no65 – They won’t be; the tyres can only handle so much :P
            Bigger brakes will be easier to cool though

        • matiascasali (@matiascasali) said on 9th July 2014, 17:23

          they’ll ban it because it’s an “movable aerodynamic device” :D

      • Pawel (@marik) said on 9th July 2014, 19:22

        Yes, maybe they could be an inch or two smaller, yes, they look a bit strange, but generally I like it.
        Remember new noses, new engines and new sound? Almost everyone were shouting it’s ugly, too “eco”, too quiet, it’s not F1 etc. Now – silence. People got over it and enjoy racing, I bet we’ll have the same story with big rims.

        Also I don’t know what problem some people have with relevance to road cars.

    • Carlitox (@carlitox) said on 9th July 2014, 15:30

      I’ve seen many negative opinions. It feels weird to go against the stream, but I really like the looks of these. I am, however, quite worried about the costs that its introduction would have. Having to redesign the suspensions, brakes, car geometry in general, must be a pain in the arse for the engineers and another contradiction in F1’s already bad “cost-cutting policy”. As awesome they might look, I don’t know if it’d be convenient to make them mandatory.

      • vlersch (@vlersch) said on 9th July 2014, 20:03

        Yeah, I’m really surprised by those many negative opinions aswell. It looks perfect to my eyes. Feels weird to be in favor of something new about F1 these days, but really liked it this time…

        • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 9th July 2014, 21:36

          A fair number of negative comments are about how the brakes don’t fill behind the wheels. Seems they expected Lotus to waste money making new brakes just for a feasibility test.

      • Jarnooo (@jarnooo) said on 10th July 2014, 7:25

        I don’t think they look bad and as F1 always talks about being relevant to road cars, I think this is a logical step to make. Hopefully it can help to entice more manufacturers too.

  2. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th July 2014, 9:36

    That looks really good. I wonder how the cars will perform with them on though, they would need a fundamental rethink of the suspension set up to get the most out of them.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th July 2014, 9:39

      i imagine it will be a pretty hard ride now, as its missing about a 3rd of suspension (which is currently done by the tyre sidewalls!)

      • Alan O'Reilly (@alanore) said on 9th July 2014, 11:01

        I wonder how much of a knock-on effect this will have on performance/set-up…

        With less sidewall and less travel in the tyres, it changes what was almost a constant between all teams (tyre pressures could be adjusted) into something that is in the teams control, allowing more variance across the grid.

        The other thing that I think will have a bigger impact is, bigger wheels could mean bigger breaks, making managing and cooling the breaks nearly a non-issue. That is one element of this years F1 I have really enjoyed, when teams are lifting and coasting to manage break temperatures meaning the cars behind can attack into corners.

        Does anyone know if there is an explicit rule governing the size of breaks, or is it simple a case of what fits into the wheels.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 9th July 2014, 20:14

      @geemac it’s not just the suspension also aerodynamics needs a complete rethinking. The costs would be enormous, considering you have to start from scratch with your car. imo, introducing these tyres would defeat the purpose of all cost saving initiatives.

  3. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 9th July 2014, 9:38

    Nope, not for me. Try 15” (or 16” max) !

  4. Timpreza (@timpreza) said on 9th July 2014, 9:39

    Like a real tuner with tiny stock brakedisks. Don’t really like it.

  5. Milky White said on 9th July 2014, 9:42

    I say use these but let the discs grow to fill the rim and stipulate that the disc must be visible from the outside so you can see them glow red in the corners.

    • nivek252 (@nivek252) said on 9th July 2014, 10:56

      I agree, i think this will happen anyway, as it will make sense for the teams to make the discs bigger as it will bring the discs closer to the wheel and aid tyres getting temperature into tyres

      • frood19 (@frood19) said on 9th July 2014, 12:47

        i disagree on the basis that it would make the brakes too powerful (bigger disc equals more stopping power) and therefore braking zones would be too short, hampering overtaking. i realise most overtaking is now done in DRS zones, but that sucks! outbraking manoeuvres are the best.

        • sam said on 9th July 2014, 14:47

          Bigger brakes DO NOT mean shorter stopping distances. The limiting factor on braking distance is tire grip.

          • MemorableC (@memorablec) said on 9th July 2014, 18:20

            To add to this the only true advantage to larger brakes is to aid in cooling.

            If you can still lock your wheels up your not being limited by anything but the tire compound.

  6. Robert (@gicu) said on 9th July 2014, 9:42

    It totally reminds me of a V8 Ariel Atom. Probably it’s the paint scheme as well. I like it.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 9th July 2014, 9:48

      I’m not a big fan of the bigger wheel rims, but I totally agree that it looks like the Ariel Atom. My first thought when I saw it haha

  7. Mortimer Max (@mortimer-max) said on 9th July 2014, 9:52

    I like it! :)

  8. karter22 (@karter22) said on 9th July 2014, 9:55

    I kind of like it but I think 15´s would be more than enough.

  9. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 9th July 2014, 9:58

    Nice! I don’t think they look as good here as they could with another car… them big gold wheels of the Lotus are a bit ugly to me!

  10. trotter said on 9th July 2014, 9:58

    Rear one I could survive, but the front one looks like some crappy cart wheel. And I don’t mean racing carts, I mean horse-pulled cart.

  11. Anthony (@lagerstars) said on 9th July 2014, 10:10

    First impression of that is that it looks ridiculous. From the renders it looked like it’ll be good and it may just be the angle this picture is taken at, but it looks like someone has gone out and bought the biggest wheels they could find to put on their car to look cool and its had the complete opposite effect.

    • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 9th July 2014, 11:17

      I dont think it helps the imagination when you see these enormous wheels, and then the word ‘saxo’ written on the sidepod, instantly takes the mind to max power magazine.

      Personally though, I like the larger wheels, I think a better rim design would make a huge difference. 18 inches of difference.

  12. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 9th July 2014, 10:17

    Can we keep the small ones at the front, please…?

  13. Joaquin (@fat-tyre) said on 9th July 2014, 10:23

    Looks like chariot wheels, don’t like it one bit.

  14. Schlawiner (@bebilou) said on 9th July 2014, 10:25

    I like the 13″
    The 15 ones make me think about ‘regular’ racing cars, wich F1 are not.

  15. Oli (@dh1996) said on 9th July 2014, 10:35

    That looks like someone built an F1 model in their shed. Horrible, just horrible.

1 2 3 6

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.