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”.

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

  1. Michael Brown (@lite992) said on 9th July 2014, 13:26

    I’m looking forward to how these wheels will perform, but the colour and rim design just doesn’t work for me. They look better in black or grey.

  2. Tiago Sá said on 9th July 2014, 13:28

    Looks hideous, if I’m honest.

  3. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 9th July 2014, 13:45

    Can anybody, skilled enough, to resize the tyre and the rim to 15”-16” ?!? I’m really curious how a wheel like that wheel.

  4. Valhyre (@ausuma) said on 9th July 2014, 13:53

    oh god it’s like a rapper’s car with the bling bling yo! going on with the flow!
    please keep the 13′ inch wheels

  5. kpcart said on 9th July 2014, 13:58

    I never liked it when road cars went to bigger wheels, I don’t see the point, seems to make cars more stiff on the road. I also hate on road cars when people put bigger wheels on their cars, “pimping” them, and making them look like prams. I don’t want to see f1 cars have pram wheels. f1 cars are so small…. why put these pram wheels on? it makes sense maybe on a large 4wd, but a 600kg open wheeler? and Pirelli are talking even bigger – 20 inch. I guess that will suit Hamilton’s hip hop image, maybe they can attach a subwoofer to the back of the cars to (to amplify the exhaust).

  6. Joshj81 said on 9th July 2014, 13:58

    With the bigger wheels, are they going to allow for bigger brakes as well? There seems to be a lot of space available now.

  7. Boomerang said on 9th July 2014, 14:23

    My opinion is: 13-inch is to small 18 to big! Diameter of new wheel rim is almost the same as the complete 13-inch tire. The irony is that new concept tires are tested by the team that doesn’t know how to use 13-inch rubber properly, not to mention 18…

    • kpcart said on 9th July 2014, 14:25

      don’t be silly, it doesn’t matter if they use them better or worse then other teams, so much info can be gained by whatever team testing them – at least they are testing them on an f1 car, instead of say a gp2 car. it is a first run anyway – just for general data, it is not like they are race ready tyres.

      • Boomerang said on 9th July 2014, 23:23

        I agree with you regarding the new tires. However, the situation they’re having at the moment as a team requires 110% effort dedicated to solve contemporary issues. The show should be the last thing on their mind. The season started off on the wrong foot for Lotus F1 team, it might end up in the same manner.

  8. kpcart said on 9th July 2014, 14:28

    I hope Charles Pic gives an insight into the tyres, and doesn’t do PR speak. he was 9 seconds off the pace with the 18 inches :P

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 9th July 2014, 14:38

      Makes sense since the car would not have in it the right suspension to deal with these new rims/tires. Made me wonder the value of testing these tires but perhaps Pirelli has gleaned at least some info for themselves while at the same time F1 getting a feel, in a trial balloon sort of way, for viewers reaction.

  9. Chris Kiss (@bluechris) said on 9th July 2014, 14:38

    Someone asked for image how the tyre & rim will be is it was 15″ but i cannot find the question to reply there so here is a fast examble that i did in photoshop…. not my best work but you get the idea.

    http://i61.tinypic.com/25tz12q.jpg

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 9th July 2014, 15:11

      @lite992 18′s look way better in motion, especially that first picture. I’m curious if someone could photoshop 15″ wheels/tires from perhaps indycar or rough estimate from F1 cars into a side by side by side comparison.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

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

    It looks ridiculous! Like a toy car.

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