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Pirelli wraps up 18-inch tyre test

Pirelli’s extensive test campaign for the new 18-inch Formula 1 tyres has been completed, as Alpine and Daniil Kvyat concluded the final day of testing on the intermediate tyres at Paul Richard yesterday.

The new 18-inch tyres will replace the current 13-inch compound as part of the new era of F1 starting in 2022. The new low-profile tyres have received a 360 revamp compared to this year’s tyres. From the profile to the structure of the compound, Pirelli’s engineers have redesigned every element of the tyre. An intense research and development programme, which featured indoor and outdoor testing, included 28 days of track testing throughout 2021.

Image Credit: Pirelli

Nearly all teams participated in the test programme along with 19 drivers, of which 15 are regular competitors in the championship. The driver perspective offered valuable feedback for Pirelli every step of the way in developing the new compounds. Over the course of the development and testing campaign, Pirelli developed 70 prototypes and 30 physical specifications that were tested on-track in dry and wet conditions by the drivers. A total of 4267 laps were driven, making up more than 20,000 kilometres: around half the earth’s circumference. The number of sets used was 392, equivalent to 1568 tyres.

Now that the test is concluded, Pirelli will submit the tyre specifications to the FIA. Once approved, the teams will have the chance to test the new tyres in the post-season test following the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli, said: “With this latest wet test we finally close our development schedule for the new 18-inch tyres. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we had to revise our test programme entirely, cancelling on-track testing to concentrate on simulation as well as virtual development and modelling. This system of virtual screening helped us optimise the number of physical prototypes produced and return to on-track testing for 28 days throughout 2021. We started off the development process with the profile, before moving onto the base construction, and finally homing in on the five compounds that we will homologate for next year. The results obtained up to now have been arrived at with the input of the drivers currently competing in the championship, a vital aspect for us, albeit using mule cars. Next year, we will still have some test days at our disposal, which will allow us to fine-tune the 2022 tyre with the new cars if needed. Once the specification has been validated by the FIA, the drivers will have the chance to try out the definitive 18-inch tyres at the test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although we will have to wait for next year’s pre-season tests to see these tyres in action on the 2022 cars for the first time.”

Headline Image Credit: Pirelli Twitter

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