Lotus E22, Silverstone, 2014

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

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. It makes the car looks like it is way smaller, like a remote controlled car.

  2. Im not sure i like them just yet, probably still need to get used to them. But i do see the logic behind it. F1 should definitely introduce them in 2015 if you’d ask me.

  3. Tim (@59caddy62)
    9th July 2014, 20:51

    Hideous. Look like old wagon wheels from far away. Tire degradation will make them useless after 7 or 8 laps depending on tire compound. Let’s stick with what we know for these tires.

  4. Tried myself to create a 15” wheel in Photoshop. This is what I got:

    gold rims:
    grey rims:

  5. Awesome.
    The 13 inches, looks like my grandmothers wheels….
    Finally something that makes the cars look better.

    1. Very cool. For me the 15’s don’t look different enough. I’m all for the 18’s. Thanks for that.

  6. Quote – “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”

    Eh? PV = mRT applied last time I checked, ie it’s the temperature of the gas that determines the pressure, not the amount. I would have thought a smaller quantity of gas would be subject to greater temperature variation for a given change in loading and therefore greater pressure variation.

  7. Those 18 inch tyres are much better than the current ones but maybe a tad big.
    I wonder if FIA could make them 16 inches and that what most of the every day cars drive on anyway.

  8. Larger rims would make it easier and safer to return to the pits with a puncture.
    I’m guessing the larger rims and lower profile tyres would take less kindly to wheel-banging incidents, with the rims more likely to make contact with one another and less sidewall to absorb shock. Suspensions would surely be more vulnerable to damage in impacts.
    My opinion on the aesthetic side is that it looks 21st century. The current tyres look to me like they were stolen from a drag racing circuit. And that the wheels help compensate aesthetically for the ugliness of the noses and oddly proportioned wings.

  9. TERRRIBLE!! three things:
    1- for me the small wheel and chunky rubber ties F1 back to karting. To me its important to have a solid link to the beginning of the chain.
    2- im am really tired of all this “road relevance” talk. these are RACING prototypes. They should be the opposite of road relevant. Its a sport. Sport is about visceral excitement. Bringing F1 down to a family sedan is the philosophical opposite.
    3- if the first impression isn’t “wow that looks amazingly cool”, then its not right. All this talk of “they look weird at first but then you get used to it” is nonsense. Trust the first impression. Don’t try to rationalize.

  10. the future of F1 hahaha


    sarcasm. (maybe not?)

  11. I’m surprised by the weight increase. I always thought less rubber meant less unsprung weight with the wheel being the lighter element.

    Oh well…

    But I must say – since when has F1 been about aesthetics? Who cares if they look better or worse. Will they provide better driveability and thus faster everything?

  12. in the motorcycle world, it seems to have gone opposite to cars – previously bikes in the 80s often were using 19inch tyres (for front mostly), where as now most bikes use 17 inch.
    this test by Pirelli – to me it is a bit like motogp trying 22inch tyres. its just not needed.
    18inch tyres on a 5 meter long, 1800kg car is one thing, but on a 3m long, 600kg, and not very tall open wheeler is just bizarre. it is not right to copy road car trends, f1 cars are not road cars.

  13. I cannot unsee this, now the old tires just look sooo archaic too me, like something from the 50’s

  14. If it is introduced in F1 fia has to plan ahead just like the engine because of suspension problems that will automatically appear, and by the way they look ugly

  15. I don’t understand what everyone is moaning about. I’ve followed F1 for years, and I think this is a great change as it bring the F1 technology into line with road cars, which is key to making the developments relevant. To add to that, I think they look great as well. People complaint about how they look – have you seen the Caterham nose? Surely far more worthy of complaint (still!)

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