Pirelli has revealed its new wider tire models for the 2017 Formula 1 season, harking back to the rubber used in the 1970s and 1980s.
As part of the overhaul being undertaken on the technical regulations for next year, Pirelli was asked to produce wider and more durable tires, and received 25 days of testing to prepare for their implementation.
At an event in Monaco on Saturday morning, Pirelli offered a public glimpse of the new tires for the first time, fitted to a show car.
The Italian supplier also released an accompanying video and statement explaining the changes.
“Pirelli has already begun track testing tires in the current size but with constructions and compounds for 2017, using cars that are two or three years old,” the statement read.
“From roughly the beginning of August, current or 2015 cars will be tested on track equipped with the first prototype F1 tires in the new size. And we’re talking about a considerable increase: the front tire grows from 245 to 305 millimeters wide (which is nearly the same width as the current rear) while the 2017 rear grows from 325 to 405 millimeters.
“The diameter stays more or less the same, with a slight increase from 660 millimeters to 670 millimeters (the same as the current rain tire diameter, except with a slick rather than patterned surface). The wheel size remains the same as it has always been: 13 inches, giving Formula 1 a unique look that it doesn’t yet want to renounce.
“Nonetheless, as a showcase of what is possible, Pirelli has already successfully demonstrated 18-inch tyres on track and remains open to investigating even larger sizes in future.
“In order to give an idea of the scope of the changes without getting too bogged down in mathematics, the front tire will become nearly 25% wider, while the rear tyre becomes more than 30% wider. There will be a corresponding increase in the tire footprint: the amount of tire that is physically in contact with the ground at any given point.
“This is where the extra grip comes from, enhancing each car’s ability to put its power down onto the ground, leading to more performance through corners as well as under acceleration and braking.”
Ferrari reserve driver Jean-Eric Vergne completed a test with the new compounds earlier this month at Fiorano using a 2014-spec car.
The Frenchman was impressed by Pirelli’s developments, telling NBC Sports that he thought 2017 would be “great” for F1 tires.
The wider tires will undoubtedly help F1’s drive to make the cars look more aggressive, while the additional grip will contribute to the multiple second gain in lap time that is coveted.