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.

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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”.

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Image via Lotus on Twitter

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

  1. Warren2185 (@warren2185) said on 9th July 2014, 15:01

    Anything to get the maximum amount of set-up control in the hands of the individual teams (shocks,springs, dampers), rather than in the hands of a “hunk of sidewall rubber” made by the tire manufacturer.

  2. FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 9th July 2014, 15:09

    I can see that these are drawing mixed views from the fans… personally I think they look awful

  3. Milansson (@milansson) said on 9th July 2014, 15:13

    I don´t think that it will be down to what we say here.
    Love it or hate it.

    I have mixed emotions, but in this pic I think it looks okay.
    It´s again just a matter of getting used to it.. We do not talk about the quiet engines as much as we did at the start of the season either..

    https://twitter.com/Lotus_F1Team/status/486847578282422272/photo/1

    • i think things should always be “wow thats amazing” from the first impression. Never “eh i got used to it”. To me thats not how visceral appeal works. F1 needs more visceral appeal.

  4. jochenrindt78 said on 9th July 2014, 15:17

    I think they look pretty rude! Will this have an impact on safety if the wheels are flying around? I know the 13″ are still deadly if you catch one in the face but surely a bigger rim would be more dangerous in that relatively common situation…if we were racing them at Silverstone would Max Chilton still be here?? Just a thought…

  5. Sun Siyuan (@peking901) said on 9th July 2014, 15:26

    It looks ridiculous! Like a toy car.

  6. antonyob said on 9th July 2014, 15:26

    Formula Chav

  7. Aced (@aced) said on 9th July 2014, 15:26

    I don’t like to bring up the past every time we’re getting something new in F1 but… I just can’t help it this time

    However, if it’s going to make F1 a bit more road relevant then I’m all for it. Aesthetics should be F1s last concern right now.

  8. oliveiraz33 (@oliveiraz33) said on 9th July 2014, 15:32

    Looks great, love it!

    This makes much more sense than stupid hibrid systems. Low profile tires actualy improve roadcars performance, unlike hybrid sistems that exist to save fuel, wich isn’t what F1 is all about, F1 is about going fast

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

      This makes much more sense than stupid hibrid systems

      Without which Renault would have pulled out, Honda wouldn’t be returning, and Merc would probably stop not long after.

      F1 is about going fast as efficiently as possible

      FTFY

      • kpcart said on 10th July 2014, 13:13

        Honda is returning because they think they have a chance of winning with new formula, they pulled out before because they failed in last formula. Mercedes also only stayed because of new formula as it gave them a new opportunity – as before they too were failing. it is all about business, and that’s what bought about the new formula – not anything about efficiency.

  9. Captain Shuntalot (@f1withmyson) said on 9th July 2014, 15:47

    Wicked awesome! I love it!

  10. ElBasque (@elbasque) said on 9th July 2014, 15:49

    I like ’em.

  11. Bruce said on 9th July 2014, 17:02

    I like the size, though the rim choice reminds me of wagon wheels.

  12. Philip said on 9th July 2014, 17:11

    Formula Gringo

  13. Harry said on 9th July 2014, 18:02

    They may look nice, but the problem will be with pitstops. No way can you have 2.5-second pitstops with 18-inch tyres, they are too unwieldy for the mechanics to be able to carry out a quick changearound

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 9th July 2014, 21:46

      The total diameter of the wheel/tyre combo is only slightly larger than current. Plus one GT and LMP pit worker seems able to lug two 18″ rims around without difficulty, so three F1 crew should be able to manage fine.

  14. MemorableC (@memorablec) said on 9th July 2014, 18:23

    I like it.

    Everyone commenting about the brakes needs to realize that nothing was changed on the lotus except the wheels, there still running there brake package for the 13’s and therefore you see a lot of empty space.

  15. Adz76 (@adz76) said on 9th July 2014, 18:27

    Quite like the look of this, preferable to the 2014 noses anyway!
    Can someone tell me what the difference of the old size versus the new is ? I know this is a proposed move from 13″ to 17″ however it is the tyre profile I’m curious to know. As some have mentioned the suspension is surely going to need to be redesigned to allow for these as the sidewall will be considerably stiffer.

  16. Mark McDonald said on 9th July 2014, 18:37

    Wheels look good!

  17. Shrieker (@shrieker) said on 9th July 2014, 18:49

    Hideous.

  18. adiai (@adiai) said on 9th July 2014, 18:57

    I don’t like it, whats next, spinning wheels or 22 inch wheels….

  19. Breno (@austus) said on 9th July 2014, 19:34

    So now that we have introduced something ugly, we need to improve the show. I know, half points for the first round.

  20. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 9th July 2014, 19:45

    TOO big. I said it when F1F had their Ferrari rendering up.

    They need to be 16″ or 17″ at most. They look very cartoonish at 18″. The sidewalls are all much shallower than ordinary road cars.

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