The FIA have offered a tender for a new sole-supplier for it’s Formula 1 tire but this time the winning bidder will not only cover the 2020 season’s current 13” specification but also move to an all-new 18” wheel tire spec in 2021 and beyond.
The challenge here is that the first year in the deal, the winning supplier will have to create a 13” wheel design (which favors current supplier Pirelli) and then create an all-new 18” version with narrower front tires.
The FIA are looking to ban tire warmer blankets as well and have requested that the new supplier create a tire that will have safe performance when leaving the pits cold. The tires will need to be able to run at cold and hot tire pressures safely, of course.
The tender says there will be three compounds at each race with the easier labels of hard, medium and soft names. The FIA describes each as follows:
- – Hard compound: 2s degradation achieved at 22% race distance Base lap time
- – Medium compound: 2s degradation achieved at 18% race distance 1.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound
- – Soft compound: 2s degradation achieved at 10% race distance 2.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound
The FIA say they are doing it for the entertainment value of the sport by:
“the intent is to create the maximum number of race strategies yielding race times such that multi-stop strategies provide just enough potential of a beneficial outcome to encourage the greatest variety in the racing spectacle.”
It is also stated that after approval of the tenders, the winning supplier will engage with Formula 1 directly for the commercial contract. What is interesting is that they are also looking at this continued HD tire concept, which is irritating, but they also want tires to recover from a window of high deg:
“considered desirable both for its impact on race strategies and to ensure tires are not run to a point of excessive wear. A non-linear performance gradient change (‘cliff’) at a certain percentage of tire wear would achieve this. It is suggested that an underlayer of low performance is designed below the tread compound to achieve this.”
“it is expected that aggressive driving or close following will incur higher tire degradation per lap than gentle driving or driving in free air.
“Once a period of aggressive driving or close following ceases, the tire should rapidly recover the lower level of degradation per lap associated with the more benign conditions.”
While many feel the 18” wheel is a move in the right direction, the changes to car design will be big as the tires and larger sidewall of the current 13” is critical to the car’s overall design. A lower sidewall will be a real challenge to design around. What others may argue, me included, is the continuation of the HD tire concept but I understand why the FIA feel this is the right direction. I understand it adds a greater element for strategy and on-track action. What do you think? Is this the right direction for F1?
Hat Tip: The FIA Tender Page 8