Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola has insisted 18-inch wheels will transform the Formula 1 tires by 2021. Larger wheels don’t just mean rims larger that entails a lot of technical problems.
This is an exciting time in the sport, as the new rules for 2021 will see 18-inch wheels replace the 13-inch wheels that F1 racing cars have used for almost 25 years. So, what’s the reason for the 18-inch wheel change that will transform the Formula 1 tires? What is the problem of the wheel of an F1 car?
According to Pirelli’s engineers, more than 2645 pounds (1200 kg) of impact load was measured on each tire as the F1 car performed the tough race. This is a big challenge for the wheel, there is a need for a solution for this.
Catch up with trends
The change is intended to reflect trends in the automotive industry, where the wheels of commercial supercars are typically larger in diameter than in Formula 1. One tire may be required soft, medium and hard. Each represents a trade-off between grip and endurance in a racing strategy. Soft provides higher performance but wears faster and requires more stops.
Hard tires have less traction
Mercedes, for example, Lewis Hamilton used hard tires for part of the US Grand Prix in November, where he won the season championship. Those tires allowed him to cut off one of his stops, saving him time, but by the end of the race his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was running on average performance tires. better yet, was able to overtake Hamilton and win the race.
This is another concern about current Pirelli tires. The driver must be very careful, adjust the speed, to make sure they are not too hot or too cold, keep them within the right temperature range to improve grip.
Reduced suspension travel
Increasing the rim diameter, but if you still want the wheel to not be too much larger than the current 13-inch wheel, you have to trade down the thickness (side height) of the tire. The lower its thickness, the less elastic it affects the wheel movement, and thus less influence on the suspension. You just need to redesign the suspension with a smaller stroke.