During last month’s Formula One test session at Silverstone, Lotus reserve Charles Pic turned laps on Pirelli tires fitted with an 18-inch rim.
But while Pirelli motorsports director Paul Hembery (pictured, with one of the 18-inch tires) said that he got good feedback, he did say at the time that a 19-inch tire could be “probably more interesting going forward.”
Sure enough, Hembery’s now confirmed that his company’s focusing on 19-inch tires for future seasons as F1 ponders ways to become more road-relevant.
“We are doing a lot of work – probably focusing on 19-inch now, if I am really honest with you,” Hembery said according to Crash.net. “We are carrying on our work internally on those developments and so from our point of view, it goes ahead.”
The F1 teams would have to give their consent for such a tire change.
After Pic tested with the 18-inch tires – which could be introduced as early as 2016 if necessary – Lotus technical director Nick Chester explained how a bigger tire would have major impact on car design and would need an extended testing calendar leading up to a debut.
As for what the width of the 19-inch tires would be, Hembery said that would ultimately come down to several factors.
“I think that depends on what package of aero changes they are going to make and what they think they might do with the suspension,” he told Crash. “We have heard talk of some form of active suspension. I am not sure if that is going to happen or not.
“But there is a lot of aspects they are talking about which could change what we do with that.”