Formula 1 tyres will be HUGE next year

We’re just over halfway through the 2016 Formula 1 season, but we’ve already got a glimpse of what Formula 1 cars will look like next year. In 2017, F1 will play host to a brand-new set of rules, and they’re going to make cars look completely different. F1’s governing body, the FIA, has introduced the new rules to make cars faster, primarily by increasing their corner speed. To make that happen, the new regulations will increase the amount of downforce cars can produce, and will force teams to run larger, wider tyres.

In order to compensate for the higher downforce, a larger contact patch – the amount of the tyre touching the road – is needed. That’s why next year’s rear tyres will be up from 325 to 405mm, while front tyres will be increasing in size from 245 to 305mm – a roughly 25% increase in both cases. What’s more, these increases will apply to every tyre, from full wets, to slicks. The result? Cars will have more mechanical grip in slow corners, and generate higher G-forces in fast corners, and reduce overall lap times by as much as five seconds – an eternity in F1.

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Once again, Pirelli will be the sole tyre manufacturer in the sport, and in order to collect more data and get next year’s tyres just right, it’s already testing next year’s rubber on modified versions of older racing cars. Just last week, Mercedes covered 286 laps with the new fat Pirellis at the Paul Ricard circuit in France – and I’ve put some pictures of that test in a gallery for you, too. As you’d expect, Pirelli is sharing the testing load out between the teams, so one of them doesn’t gain a competitive advantage. 

I’ll be writing more about Formula 1’s rule changes for 2017 soon, but I think they’re a very positive thing. For the past few years, F1 has battled between a desire to innovate and a need to return to the high-octane days of the 1970s and 80s. As a long-time Formula 1 fan, I think these new tyres and aerodynamics – when combined with futuristic hybrid PUs such as the Mercedes – will bring a new, golden age to F1.

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