Pirelli believes the proposed 18-inch wheels could improve the speed of the F1 cars by about 3 seconds per lap.
The new tyre dimensions is expected to debut in 2021 as a part of the technical regulations. Pirelli is excited about the 18-inch wheels as the dimensions are a lot closer to the road cars and thus have a bigger impact on the Italian tyre maker.
In 2016, the GPS2 was supposed to get the 18-inch wheels. But the series backed out of the change in the last stage. The racing class would have gotten a lot quicker had they changed to the bigger wheels, says the tyre maker’s F1 boss Mario Isola.
Speaking with Motorsport-Total, he said: “I’d say around three seconds [faster] – that’s a lot,”
But it is hard to arrive at a precise figure as the new tyre would mean the cars will have to undergo significant changes. The suspension will need a lot of rework.
“To make a precise estimate, we’ll have to know how much downforce there is and how strong the engines are,” Isola added.
Williams chief technical officer, Paddy Lowe does not think the new tyres will be as effective as they are being projected.
“On the road, it’s more fashionable, but in Formula One it just causes less grip and more weight.”
F1 is still pondering on the details of the new deal. Meanwhile, the official tyre supplier may also change as the contract for tyre supply is up by the end of 2019 season. So the excitement aside, they may not even be in the series when the new tyres come out.