Formula One’s official tire supplier, Pirelli, have unveiled the size of their new 2017 specifications tires in a presentation this morning in Monaco. “This is a significant technical change that also has an effect on the balance and aesthetics of the cars that will compete next year” said Pirelli.
Firstly the 2017 tires are considerably wider because the aim of the new 2017 regulations is to improve lap times drastically. Pirelli said “To fulfill the objectives of improving lap times, in combination with the latest aerodynamic modifications, the decision has been taken to have wider tires and therefore a wider track”. Formula One is aiming to have the target lap times for 2017 around 4 seconds faster than the current generation cars.
Officially speaking, the front tires will increase from a current width of 245mm to 305mm. Whilst the rears will change from 325mm to 405mm. Both the fronts and rears will be 25% larger in total, and sizes will be the same for slicks, inters and full wets. In turn this means that the tire will have a larger contact patch with the ground. The wheel rim diameter will not change, remaining at 13 inches.
Due to these significant changes Pirelli have been granted extra days for tire testing. They are currently testing prototype elements on 2016 size tires with 2014 chassis. Ferrari’s test driver, Jean-Eric Vergne has so far conducted tire tests for Pirelli at Fiorano. Pirelli will begin testing wider tires in August.
Pirelli has been Formula One’s tire supplier since the 2011 Formula One season. They have been known for tires which degrade quickly, making them very important in strategy. Former tire suppliers such as Bridgestone and Michelin were generally at the other end of the spectrum – making tires less degradable.
To conclude, Pirelli seem right on top of their testing and tires – lets just hope they can help the 2017 racing. The 2016 Monaco Grand Prix will continue with a big qualifying battle coming up.