Pirelli boss Mario Isola outlined the findings from last season’s rigorous testing of new 18-inch tires for 2022, which he hopes will help enhance the racing spectacle alongside the new generation of Formula 1 cars.
F1 tire suppliers conducted 28 days of testing for the new and bigger tires in 2021 using mule cars from nine of the 10 teams (Williams opted out) and Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1 and auto racing. , kicked off 2022 by praising the efforts of his motorsports team.
He said: “In a busy season with all the limitations and 22 races, I think it was a great achievement [to develop the 18-inch tyre]. Also because… this tire is designed in a different way, with different goals: our drivers ask for less overheating, less degradation, they want to push the tires, they want to fight on the track, and we clearly decided and agreed with the FIA, FOM and teams to follow this direction.
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“So we had to design a new profile, a new construction, optimize the footprint, design a new range of compounds. It is a completely new product with a new focus, and I think it will also be very useful for other activities of the company”.
Isola not only touted the positives of Pirelli’s 18-inch F1 tyres, but claimed that their characteristics lend themselves more to road relevance than previous 13-inch tyres, adding that suppliers aim to be totally neutral. in carbon by 2030, reflecting F1’s own sustainability strategy. .
Formula 1 2021: November tests in Abu Dhabi
Zhou Guanyu testing for Alfa Romeo at the Abu Dhabi Pirelli end of season session
Alongside the seasonal testing for the 18-inch tyres, Pirelli also ran a two-day test in Abu Dhabi after the end of the season, with nine separate teams. Isola explained why the Yas Marina trial findings also proved invaluable.
“In terms of comparison with the tire development tests that we did during the season, I would say that we have confirmed that the new product has the characteristics that I mentioned before, so: less overheating, the drivers have the opportunity to push more. That was important in Abu Dhabi because in Abu Dhabi we also had some traffic. That was something that we were not able to simulate during our tire development test where we had one car running on the track or two cars at most,” Isola continued.
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“In terms of wear, it’s hard to make a prediction because we were using mule cars, so we have to wait for the actual performance of the new 2022 cars,” he added.
Also, the pace difference between the 18-inch compound cars and the precursor 13-inch compounds may not be as great as anticipated: “We have simulations coming from the teams, the simulations tell us that the new cars are not much more slow compared to last year’s cars.
“At first we were talking about more than three seconds per lap; now it’s half a second, one second, so if they start just one second apart it means that during the season they will probably reach the same level of performance that we had in 2021,” said Isola.
The new era of Formula 1 cars will be revealed very soon by the 10 teams
Formula 1 also welcomed BBS Motorsport as the sole wheel suppliers for 2022, which meant Pirelli quickly formed a working group with the wheel manufacturers, a process Isola detailed.
“Yes, we had a working group managed by the FIA together with BBS, Pirelli and also the supplier of the [temperature and pressure] sensor which is also standard,” Isola said.
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“We started in 2020… together with BBS. We also did some testing with the 18-inch tires mounted on BBS rims. It was a very useful approach to have this working group that met every week to monitor the progress of the activity”, explained Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Motorsport.
Pirelli 18-inch tires will hit the track very soon with McLaren, Mercedes and Aston Martin having already announced their launch dates for the 2022 season, which kicks off in Bahrain on March 18-20.