- Method 1’s transfer from 13-inch to 18-inch tires was pushed again from 2021 to 2022 because of the COIVD-19 pandemic.
- Pirelli says the 18-inch tire is sweet for know-how switch from race to highway, as a result of the sizes are much more related in comparison with the 13-inch.
- Pirelli has to create 5 dry-weather compounds—together with the wet-weather Intermediates and Wets—of which three are chosen for every Grand Prix.
Method 1’s tires will endure a metamorphosis for 2022.
Gone are the 13-inch tires which were current for many years, and of their place come 18-inch tires, once more supplied by sole provider Pirelli, which has held the function since 2011. The brand new sizes are a part of the wide-ranging technical modifications being launched for 2022.
“It was a call made primarily based on the brand new package deal,” mentioned Pirelli’s Method 1 boss Mario Isola. “The 18-inch tires are in all probability probably the most seen a part of the automotive. It’s a part of an thought coming from F1 to make F1 extra trendy, with the likelihood to have nearer motion on monitor.
“We’re clearly very completely happy as transferring to an 18-inch tire is sweet for our know-how switch from race to highway, as a result of the sizes are much more related in comparison with the 13-inch.”
It has been a difficult improvement program for Pirelli, which started in mid-2019, and was then extended when the pandemic prompted unanimous settlement for the brand new rules to be deferred from 2021 till 2022.
Pirelli has to create 5 dry-weather compounds—together with the wet-weather Intermediates and Wets—of which three are chosen for every Grand Prix. It really works to a goal letter agreed with main stakeholders Method 1 and the FIA, which incorporates fascinating parts such the delta between compounds and the strategic ambition. Pirelli thus has to contemplate totally different automotive efficiency, which evolves as intelligent designers unearth extra lap time, 23 circuits with various traits and calls for, and temperature fluctuations.
Moreover, rules dictate that every driver per weekend has eight Softs, three Mediums and two Hards; and one of many Medium or Arduous have to be run in race trim. Getting tire compounds which can be excellent, and which have ample lap time and degradation variations to provide offset methods so that everybody doesn’t converge to the identical strategy… speak about a tricky activity.
“We needed to redesign not solely the development, the profile, but additionally the vary of compounds,” mentioned Isola. “Within the goal letter we agreed with the stakeholders now we have various parameters which can be totally different to 2021, and former seasons,” mentioned Isola. “The delta lap time has been reviewed and the extent of degradation as properly, with these numbers we must always have a mixture of one to 2 stops within the races.”
Testing has been ongoing since mid-2019 utilizing that season’s vehicles barely modified to be able to accommodate the revised tire sizes. Solely Williams, which was not in a monetary place to decide to additional testing, has been absent; Pirelli is allotted 25 days take a look at per yr that’s break up between groups, which normally provide race drivers, and the corporate supplies the run program. Knowledge and data gathered is distributed to all groups equally to make sure there isn’t any benefit.
For 2022, a part of the goal letter includes a need for the tires to have a wider working window, and be extra strong in race trim, but it surely stays a tough science to precisely assess.
“To verify that the brand new tires have much less overheating we informed the drivers within the lengthy runs to push with none saving or with none administration,” mentioned Isola. “And so they did it and their suggestions was, ‘I can push extra, I can really feel the grip staying there for lots of laps’, whereas with the present tires they needed to handle much more.
“When the drivers let you know there may be much less overheating as a result of ‘I can push and drive extra aggressively and nonetheless have the grip and nonetheless see the lap time’, that’s one of the best suggestions we are able to have. However there may be one factor we can not reproduce in testing, and that’s site visitors, as now we have just one or two vehicles on monitor.”
Nevertheless, the debut of the brand new 18-inch tires coincides with Method 1’s revised aerodynamic rules. A part of the issue in latest seasons has been drivers struggling within the turbulent wake created by the automotive forward because of the large downforce ranges produced. The brand new rules goal to sort out that by relying much less on the over-complicated wings and aero units for downforce. The so-called ‘soiled air’ needs to be considerably lowered.
“I’m assured with the brand new aero package deal we are able to enhance that (tire points), as if whenever you observe the automotive in entrance you’ll lose most 10% downforce not 40% it’s a totally different story,” mentioned Isola. “If the drivers lose downforce, they lose efficiency. And in the event that they lose downforce, they begin sliding. And in the event that they slide, they begin overheating the floor of the tire they usually lose grip—so it’s a double impact.
“In the event that they nonetheless have the downforce and the tire is pushed on the bottom and it doesn’t slide then you’ll be able to maintain the floor temperature in vary and might assault extra. So hopefully with the aero package deal and the brand new tire we are able to obtain the outcome—not essentially extra overtaking because the automotive in entrance additionally has much less degradation, but it surely means now we have nearer racing general.”
The phrase ‘protecting the tire in the precise window’ has oft been trotted out in explaining subdued performances by groups; it’s hoped that potential set-up headache might be eased in 2022, if not diminished totally.
“After we are defining the working vary, the working vary is outlined by the highest of grip minus a sure share,” mentioned Isola. “So the grip is all the time on a curve. You’ll be able to design a curve that’s peakier, or a curve that could be a lot flatter. However you’ve gotten a peak in each instances. We have now to just accept from the height of grip, there’s a lower of grip over sure share, and this defines the working vary.
“We will say that the working vary outlined for subsequent yr’s compounds is wider however if you wish to function the tire precisely within the peak of grip then it’s nonetheless tough. When you transfer from the height, you are feeling much less lack of grip in comparison with the present tires due to the form of the curve. However when you’ve gotten a qualifying session when 10 vehicles could be preventing over two or three tenths of a second, then staying nearer to the height of grip will make a distinction.”
Discovering the precise compromise for everybody will also be difficult when creating the merchandise.
“We have now to design a tire that’s good for everyone, so I prefer to say it’s a good compromise,” says Isola. “When you take a look at the identical tire with a high group, or a group that’s on the finish of the classification, they’ll say ‘ah the warm-up is incredible’, or ‘the warm-up is difficult’, as they don’t generate downforce to place vitality into the tire and due to this fact one is struggling warm-up and one is struggling overheating extra, so it’s all the time one of the best compromise.
“The opposite level is circuits: excessive severity, low severity, we classify the circuits as we can not take a look at on 23 circuits and we can not take a look at on avenue circuits. We talked about delta lap time: within the goal letter it’s written that between compounds it needs to be half a second as a median, however in Spielberg the lap time is one minute and in Spa you might be shut to 2 minutes; you’ve gotten a 5 km circuit, a 7 km circuit, so the delta lap time can’t be half a second, it’s in all probability three tenths in Spielberg and eight tenths in Spa.”
And, in fact, producing totally different merchandise for all 23 circuits is unrealistic.
Method 1 drivers had their first correct style of the 18-inch tires within the official post-season Abu Dhabi take a look at in mid-December. 16 of the 20 race drivers for 2022 examined (Lewis Hamilton, Nikita Mazepin and the Williams drivers have been absent), as they drained out the brand new tires within the 2019 mule vehicles. There have been caveats: the 2 hardest compounds (C1s and C2s) are usually not significantly helpful at Yas Marina, because of the nature of the structure, whereas subsequent yr’s vehicles will in fact be totally different.
There have been nonetheless some takeaways.
“It’s difficult for us drivers and I believe it is going to be more difficult subsequent yr to drive these vehicles general,” mentioned Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. “It has in all probability a little bit of a much bigger window to work, particularly in chilly situations, but it surely’s additionally fairly difficult everytime you lose the automotive within the excessive velocity particularly.”
“It’s very totally different, I believe you’ll be able to push the automotive elsewhere in comparison with earlier than,” mentioned Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. “The 13-inch had good grip on the brakes however now the 18-inch you’ll be able to roll extra velocity into the nook however it’s a must to brake a bit earlier, issues like this, you aren’t pushing precisely in the identical locations.”
“It’s going to be a distinct driving approach however I believe in the course of the winter we’ll get used to it,” mentioned two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who raced bigger profile tires throughout his sportscar sojourn. “I believe we are going to experiment a bit, the load you placed on the tyres is totally different, they behave in a different way at larger velocity than decrease velocity.”
Drivers additionally needed to get used to the marginally totally different view, with the brand new tires bigger and thus making seeing the curbs tougher, whereas general there may be an 11 kg weight acquire from the 4 tires: 2.5 kg entrance, 3 kg rear. A couple of drivers tried out the brand new wheel covers, which can characteristic LEDs for potential sponsorship functions, however figuring out the impact of those to date is difficult because of the totally different aerodynamics and braking methods for 2022.
Pirelli estimates the brand new package deal might be round 0.5 second per lap slower than the 2021 vehicles, however that the speed of improvement means they’ll quickly be faster.
It isn’t the primary time Pirelli has modified its merchandise. In 2011 its directive was to provide excessive degrading tires that created a number of stops—generally as many as 4 per race—with large efficiency drop-off. In 2014 it needed to adapt to the hybrid energy items that delivered torque in a distinct method. In 2017 it launched wider rear tires whereas over time the need for top degrading tires waned in favor of extra sturdy rubber.
The 2022 marketing campaign is one other step. It isn’t a simple job being the only real provider the place perfection is demanded and any errors—reminiscent of failures this yr in Azerbaijan and Qatar—closely scrutinized.
“As another a part of the automotive you’ll be able to have conditions that it’s a must to handle: deflation or tires that fail,” mentioned Isola. “Our precedence is security. We take a look at all of our tyres earlier than occurring monitor with indoor take a look at machines to check integrity. It’s a problem—even when we don’t have a competitor—it’s a problem, as a result of the product must be precisely the identical for everyone, so we’d like a consistency in manufacturing that’s at a really excessive degree, as a result of now we have to supply the identical degree of service.
“And, now we have to replace the product yearly to maintain with the velocity of improvement of the vehicles, so there are a lot of parts that now we have to take care of. When the whole lot goes properly it’s regular, when there’s a downside the blame is on us, however that is a part of the job, and what’s vital is to keep away from something like that occurs.”
And the challenges will proceed. Simply as with automotive producers, Pirelli desires to develop its tires in keeping with technical developments and make sure the race monitor is a laboratory for the highway. Its decade in Method 1 has given it very important developments in supplies, manufacturing and simulations.
And already it may possibly look to the subsequent step: in 2023 tire blanket temperatures will scale back additional forward of their deliberate outlaw for 2024—the yr during which Pirelli’s present contract expires.
The work by no means stops.
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