Vettel and Stroll on new 18in F1 tyres: 'The grip goes with no warning'


Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel have gone into detail in articulating the benefits and challenges of the new Pirelli tyres

Aston Martin F1 Team

Vettel and Stroll have given their verdicts on what they think of the new Pirelli tyres so far

Aston Martin F1 Team

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll have both given their views on Pirelli’s new 18-inch tyres, with the latter saying the new rubber “gives you a lot a lot of grip, but it seems to go without any indication.”

The two drivers were talking at the launch of Aston Martin’s new 2022 car, the AMR22. Whilst Vettel and Stroll spoke of the challenges of the new Pirelli wheels, both were hopeful it would help improve the racing spectacle in Formula 1, and gave the reasons why.

“The behaviour has been pretty good on my first initial feeling, but of course [with] very different cars,” said Stroll who has so far only tested the new 18-inch wheels on his 2021 Aston.

AMR22 F1 car

New wheels, new challenges

Aston Martin Formula 1 Team

“It’s to be taken, not with a grain of salt, but I think there’s definitely going to be a lot of differences with the new car. My first impressions [were] that it was more robust to overheating, less degradation, better wear rates.”

This was something backed up by Vettel during the launch.

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“We struggled in the past – whenever we got close [to the driver in front] the car started to slide and the tyres were getting too hot,” the four-time champion said. “So they [the new tyres] should be better and more resilient to that.”

However, with the new benefits come new potential drawbacks, highlighted by the Canadian driver.

“It also definitely has its challenges,” said Stroll. “It’s a much bigger tyre, so the surface area on the ground is more, there’s more contact patch, and when the tyre does give up it seems to go into more of a slide which is harder to catch.

“From the 13-inch, which was kind of easier to catch [with] small snaps, this tyre – because of the extra contact patch – once it goes it seems to go a little bit more without any kind of indication of that coming.”

The new tyres, taller than last year’s, combined with the new aerodynamic wheel arch fairing over them, also present another challenge.

“Visibility is kind of a bitch with this tyre, you can’t see much and I haven’t tried it with the fairing either!” Stroll said. “So I expect it to be pretty tough to see where you’re going. That’s going to be very different – visually – from inside the cockpit.

AMR22 F1 car

Drivers say fairing over wheels will also present a challenge

Aston Martin

“It’s a good thing I’m in my sixth season and I’ve memorised a lot of the tracks, because if this was my first season, man, it wouldn’t be easy!”

At yesterday’s Red Bull launch, Max Verstappen also highlighted the same issue, whilst team principal Horner pointed to other challenges.

“For me actually, the biggest thing is just the cockpit view with these tyres,” the reigning champion said. “To hit an apex in some tight corners is a bit more difficult.”

“It’s definitely going have an impact on the pitstops,” said Horner. “The tyres and the wheels are heavier, more bulky. Having got the world record [pitstop] at 1.82sec, I don’t think we’re going to be challenging it in this first year with these wheels, but it’s going to be about adapting and refining our techniques. I’m pretty sure we can get close to two-second stops – even with these wheels and tyres.”