F1 tire supplier, Pirelli has said that they are ready to supply new technologies to the sport if it wants them.
The Italian manufacturer has been F1’s sole tyre supplier since 2011. Their current three-year contract ends after the 2019 F1 season. With the sport’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media intending to overhaul the regulations, it could lead to a change in tyre specifications.
Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera has said that they would welcome new technological challenges. These challenges could include increasing wheel sizes from 13 inches to 18 inches.
“We are open,” he said. “Obviously they have to find the right regulations and the teams [need to be] ready to adopt it.”
“We obviously need testing cars. They have to develop [different] cars for 18 inches. The shock absorption between suspension and tyres, different shoulders, different sizes, everything has to be tested and it takes time.”
This isn’t the first time an idea has been floated to increase the F1 wheel sizes. In fact, Pirelli tested an example of the larger rims and lower-profile rubber in 2015.
However, the only drawback is an aesthetic one. In other words, Pirelli would have less space on the sidewall to display their logo. But Provera said that they do not have a particular preference towards either format. “We are happy with 13, we are happy with 18,” he said.
“We will find a way to have proper branding and shoulders that can be combining technology and marketing. It’s something our people are able to do.
“We showed the 18 inches tyres three years ago. We started thinking much in advance.”
Another idea is the introduction of ‘Smart tyres’. These will feature sensors built into the surface rubber to give instant data on tyre performance. The manufacturer recently introduced this technology to the consumer market.
“I think that if it helps the sporting aspect we are ready also with sensors,” said Provera. “This is something the teams have to consider in additional value to the flow of information they have.
“We already mentioned that we are ready to start testing. We want to know what information they want that [is] useful for that. So we are here to continue to help the evolution of technology and the show.”