Concept 18-inch F1 tires prove challenging at Silverstone

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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.

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.