Pirelli to test 18-inch rim tires with GP2 car in Barcelona

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MONTMELO – Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has confirmed that the Italian tire manufacturer will be testing its prototype 18-inch rim tires in Barcelona next week using a GP2 car.

In a bid to make F1 more road relevant, Pirelli tested an 18-inch tire design at Silverstone last July during an in-season test, and received largely positive feedback.

Although the sport has stuck with 13-inch rim tires for the time being, a switch to the 18-inch rim design has been mooted for the next major technical regulation change, expected to come in 2017.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk following the Spanish Grand Prix, Hembery confirmed that Pirelli was still looking into the 18-inch rim designs, and that the next test would be conducted next week in Barcelona.

“Yes, that’s right,” Hembery said when asked by this writer if Pirelli would be testing the prototypes in Barcelona next week using a GP2 car. “We’re doing a little bit more. We’ve carried on some development.

“Our GP2 car will be doing some testing with the 18 inch tires, that’s carried on.

“To be honest we’re doing it because we’ve got other programmes in mind as well, not just F1. It’s good for knowledge acquire. I think it’s more likely we’ll stay with 13 [inches] in F1.”

Hembery did say that the tires could be changed upon the next overhaul of the technical regulations, revealing that a number of plans were already being discussed.

“I think it will be more if we can give some more mechanical grip in the tires that improve the performance,” Hembery said. “We’ve got some ideas up our sleeve anyway for the regulations to throw in some more variables into the sport.”

However, he said that there were no plans to run a demo car using the 18-inch rims at the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

“Not at the moment,” Hembery said. “If we’re asked.”