Concept 18-inch F1 tires prove challenging at Silverstone

2 Comments

Lotus test driver Charles Pic has called Pirelli’s concept 18-inch rim F1 tires “a challenge” as they enjoyed their first run during the post-British GP test earlier this week.

Pirelli confirmed over the race weekend at Silverstone that it would be piloting the tires on Wednesday in an attempt to make Formula 1 more road relevant. 18-inch rims are common in other racing series, but F1 tires have rims some five inches smaller.

Pic put in 14 laps for Lotus using the tires, and did not understate the challenge that they posed during this initial run.

“I think if we go one day to this type of tire it will be a big challenge,” Pic explained. “First for the team because they will have to build a completely new car around this because the philosophy is completely different and you would need to build all the car around this type of tire. I think it will also be a challenge for the driver because they are completely different.

“On the looks side it’s looking for sure different, so I think some people will like them and some people not.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was pleased with how the tires looked on the Lotus, and felt that the first test had been a successful one.

“In our view, the new tires looked stunning fitted to the Lotus, and the reaction has already been felt all over the world,” Hembery explained. “These are just a prototype concept, but if the teams decided that they wanted us to proceed in this direction, we have the capability to carry on development in this area and come up with a production-ready version in a comparatively short space of time.

“We’ve heard a lot of opinions already and we look forward to canvassing other opinions in the coming weeks and months.”

The tires could be introduced as early as 2016, but the change would require unanimous approval from the teams to be ratified and given the green light.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.