Pirelli’s Mario Isola has confirmed the initial testing plans for the new specification 18 inch tyres that will be introduced to Formula 1 in 2021.
Formula 1 is set to introduce larger wheels and tyres in 2021, switching away from the current small 13 inch diameter wheels in favour of 18 inch wheels.
Obviously, this presents a huge change in design affecting areas such as suspension, aerodynamics and brakes. Speaking to FormulaSpy at the Spanish Grand Prix a few weeks ago, Isola outlined the technical challenges behind the switch to 18 inch tyres – these changes can be read here.
Over the Canadian GP weekend, Isola confirmed the initial run plan for the new wheels, with Renault, McLaren and Mercedes already confirmed as the initial participants. Renault will conduct a test at Paul Ricard in mid-September, followed by another test at the same venue with McLaren in November. Another test, with Mercedes, is planned for December.
Isola said that all these tests are planned as “All dry sessions for the moment. We will start soon to make a plan for 2020, where we have 25 days of testing to distribute to the teams that are willing to test 18-inch tyres.”
Alongside the initial F1 tests, Pirelli will be conducting testing with Formula 2, as they will introduce the new wheels next season in preparation for Formula 1’s switch.
Having already carried out a shakedown of the current F2 car with the larger wheel, Isola said: “We did just one shakedown in Mugello, but it was really a shakedown to understand the driveability of the car with an 18-inch tyre.”
“Don’t forget that the F2 car is without power steering, so the first target was to understand if they need to adapt the car, and if how to adapt the car with the new tyres. And we are going to test in Aragon in mid-June, so in one week’s time. We made a plan with F2 where at the moment we have eight sessions already planned.
Obviously we have to concentrate the development this year to be ready latest in December. If
necessary we are also planning some back-up sessions in the Middle East at the end of the year.”