Straight talk

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Why F1’s proposed new rules will be a real challenge for Pirelli

In an ideal world, Formula 1 wouldn’t have control tyres. In keeping with an ethos of technical freedom the biggest tyre companies in the world would be competing to make the best tyre, pushing each other to ever-greater performance, this development process making for competitive uncertainty from one race to the next. But it’s got what it’s got, for all sorts of historical reasons that don’t need to detain us here. Pirelli is F1’s tyre supplier – ostensibly until the end of 2020 (though the contract with the FIA had not been signed at the time of writing, only the commercial contract with CVC). In that case, it would be good to have a tyre that could be pushed to the maximum without frying itself. The heat-degrading mechanism is what Pirelli has used to provide the strategic variability it was tasked with creating when it got the F1 gig. Now, finally – after big pressure behind the scenes from the drivers – the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone have agreed: drivers deliberately driving off the pace in order to get the required stint lengths for the best strategy is not good. That’s quite aside from the nonsense of creating the fastest cars the most creative minds can come up with – and then neutering them. 

So in preparation for 2017 the FIA is preparing to specify exactly what it requires of Pirelli for faster F1 cars. It’s a move Pirelli’s competition boss Paul Hembery welcomes, although he has reservations at the same time. 

“The FIA will lay out very specifically what the task is,” he says, “which is something we welcome. In the past some parties have wanted one thing, others another and we’ve been caught in the middle. We don’t expect any surprises in that document because it’s arisen out of extensive discussions during the winter and there is broad agreement.”

However, the next part – the doing of it – is a huge task. The proposed 2017 cars are going to have more downforce, more power and more weight. The combined effect of all that is the greatest load any F1 tyre in history has had to withstand. This from a company whose worst nightmare unfolded with the multiple shoulder failures on live TV at the 2013 British Grand Prix. Furthermore, it all has to be accomplished in an incredibly tight timeframe and with relatively little testing.  

“We need tyres for the post-Abu Dhabi test [November this year]. We expect to be on track with our own car from June, but there’s still a question mark about that. We will see what we’ll use to duplicate loads. Ballpark estimates suggest it will be subject to an 18 per cent increase in vertical load compared to this year’s tyres. We are working on a number of solutions with the FIA to perform our work on the wider tyre.

“The initial work is conceptual and a V8-era F1 car would be ideal at the outset. But by September we really need to be as close in performance to the real 2017 cars as we can, probably some sort of hybrid version of a current car changed to replicate the relevant aspects of a 2017 car.” The wind tunnel models of the tyres have already been completed and will be available to teams soon. Internal testing – on rigs rather than actual cars – has already begun. 

“It is going to require a very different tyre concept,” admits Hembery. “The technology will be very different from what we have now. We are going to have to do something quite exceptional, but from the work we’ve done initially we are very confident that the numbers being talked about – lapping Barcelona about 4.5sec faster than currently – are achievable.” 

Let’s hope that confidence is justified. Having an appropriate tyre – one that can properly be raced – is arguably the single most important thing F1 has got to get right. Everything else is built around the authenticity of what happens on track. This tyre is carrying a heavy load in more ways than one.

You may also like

Related products