Pirelli un­veil wider tyre pro­to­type for 2017

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Track test­ing of the new rub­ber is due to com­mence, but some teams re­main un­con­vinced about the tyres’ ex­pected ben­e­fits

Pirelli have un­veiled their pro­to­type of the wider tyres that will be in­tro­duced into the sport from 2017 as part of the sweep­ing rule changes.

Track test­ing of the new rub­ber will start in Au­gust, but it was tted to a test car at the Monaco Grand Prix just to give an im­pres­sion of how it will look. The rear tyres are 80mm wider than in 2016 at 405mm, and the fronts are 60mm wider at 305mm. Pirelli will also ad­just the shape of the tyre to in­crease the con­tact patch in an at­tempt to pro­vide cars with in­creased me­chan­i­cal grip.

Although the 2017 cars will have more down­force than in 2016, in an at­tempt to make them four sec­onds a lap faster, F1 bosses have for­mu­lated the rules with the in­ten­tion of not in­creas­ing the pro­por­tion­ate con­tri­bu­tion of aero­dy­nam­ics to the over­all grip of the car.

Pirelli’s main task for next year is to sat­isfy the ‘tar­get let­ter’ writ­ten by the FIA that denes how tyres must per­form. This con­tains two key de­mands: that tyre degra­da­tion be pro­por­tional to per­for­mance, so the less grippy the tyre, the longer it runs be­fore it de­grades; and that tyres should no longer suf­fer ir­recov­er­able and ir­re­versible ther­mal degra­da­tion.

The FIA feels that if these two re­quire­ments are fullled, driv­ers will be able to push much closer to the limit for dur­ing races. This was a key de­mand of the driv­ers when they met with Pirelli and F1 bosses in Fe­bru­ary.

There re­mains scep­ti­cism within the teams as to whether Pirelli can achieve this, but one se­nior in­sider who has gen­er­ally been crit­i­cal of Pirelli said: “I’m quite op­ti­mistic. Pirelli have never had a clear set of in­struc­tions be­fore. They re­ally are try­ing very, very hard.”

Some teams are doubt­ful about the new rules. This is due to con­cern as to whether Pirelli can pro­duce a tyre that can with­stand the forces of faster, heav­ier cars, while also sat­is­fy­ing the re­quire­ments to be more ‘race­able’. They have also pointed out in­con­sis­ten­cies be­tween the aims and re­sults of the new rules. One in­sider said the track had been widened to 2,000mm from 1,800mm be­cause peo­ple felt the cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s looked espe­cially at­trac­tive. But those cars had a body­work width of 1,400mm, like the 2016 cars, while the new rules dic­tate a width of 1,600mm wide.

That means the pro­por­tions of the new cars will re­main the same, they will just be larger, giv­ing the ef­fect, he said, only of “stand­ing closer to the TV screen”.

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