Next year will see the introduction of wider tyres to Formula 1 once again, but not only do they serve the purpose of handling the additional downforce to help achieve higher lap times, but they’re also being introduced again for aesthetic reasons, with stakeholders and fans keen to see ‘aggressive’ looking cars in 2017.
Whilst it’s too early to predict how well they’ll manage the additional downforce, Pirelli’s Paul Hembery told Grand Prix Times that the response to how they look, following a demonstration in Monaco and tests on a Ferrari and Red Bull ‘mule’ car, has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’.
“To achieve a higher level of performance that approximately equates to lap times that are five seconds per lap faster than Barcelona 2015 – which is the reference time – we need higher downforce and increased cornering speeds; so wider tyres were also needed to cope with this,” Hembery said.
“The reaction so far [to the way they look] has been overwhelmingly positive, ever since we revealed the new look of the tyres in a static display at the Monaco Grand Prix. Personally, I think they look stunning.”
With two tests already completed and several more planned, starting with Ferrari and Mercedes on September 7 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Paul Ricard respectively, Pirelli says there is plenty more work to do and changes will therefore be introduced to the tyre as part of an ongoing development plan.
“Both tests went exactly as planned: we had many laps driven and plenty of information collected, which will be relevant for the coming tests in September. The objective was to get a first look at some of the dynamics at work with the new size of tyre; obviously there is still plenty of work left to do.
“We’re planning to introduce a number of new elements on both the structure and compound side during the coming tests as we finalise the 2017 specification, so this is much more than just a data collection exercise: it’s instead an on-going programme of research, development and evolution.”