F1 cars will be ‘two seconds slower’ with 18-inch tyres

Jamie Woodhouse
Pirelli 18-inch tyre tests 2021

FIA approve use of 2021 cars in 18-inch tyre tests.

Mercedes technical director James Allison predicts that the 18-inch tyres coming for 2022 will slow cars down by two seconds per lap.

As part of the new regulations which will now come in to F1 from 2022, cars will race with 18-inch tyres produced by Pirelli.

But Allison expects them to make the cars lap up to two seconds slower.

“All things being equal, the bigger rims, low-profile rubber is always going to be a worse tyre than the sort of tyres that we have on our racing car today,” he said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“That sort of balloon-type tyre that you see on our cars today and have seen on racing cars for decades is a really good solution for going quickly.

“It allows the tyre to transmit the forces to the road really effectively. It’s light, it acts as a good suspending element so it gives the driver good ride quality, allows the forces to be taken at quite low inflation pressures, which means you get more grip, etc.

“So from a lap time point of view the way we currently do it is definitely the right way. And the new tyres are going to be heavier, lower grip and worse for ride, all other things being equal.

“They’re going to slow the cars down by somewhere between a second and two seconds, something like that.

“Of course Pirelli are putting a lot of effort into to mitigate those losses and to bring an improved technology on the low-profile tyres. That means that they will still be good racing tyres. But all things being equal that sort of tyre is not a good thing.”

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