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F1 to keep 13-inch wheels

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Formula 1 appears poised to retain 13-inch wheels despite recent suggestions it could switch to 18.

Current tyre supplier Pirelli recently showcased the larger spec on a GP2 car in Monaco, with former driver and current television commentator Martin Brundle at the wheel.

Rival Michelin already uses 18-inch in Formula E, and has made clear it will only submit a tender for F1's latest tyre-supply contract from 2017 if it switches to that format.

But the suggestion now from within F1 is it is unlikely to change due to the issues running the 18-inch wheel would raise.

"The subject of bigger wheels has been raised many times over the last five or eight years," said Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe.

"The broad consensus is that going to bigger wheels is not a good direction. From a grip point of view it's not positive.

"Like for like, such tyres will have a lower grip and the weight will go up considerably, so it's not an attractive direction performance-wise.

"I think generally we would intend to stick with the 13-inch wheels."

Ferrari technical director James Allison supported Lowe, but highlighted the fact there is still discussion with regard to a fatter rear tyre, with suggestions it could switch from the current 375mm to 420mm from 2017.

"As Paddy said, the rim diameter is going to stay where it is," said Allison, "but the width of the tyre is probably still up for grabs.

"We're discussing what that ought to be, along with all the other aspects of the rules for around about that time."

With Michelin certain to drop out of the running if F1 retains 13-inch rims, it increases Pirelli's chances of being handed another contract.

Despite that, Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "You never know.

"We've always said we're willing to do what the sport requests.

"At the moment, from what we understand from the Strategy Group, the 13-inch is the direction the sport wants to take, and we will do that.

"If the sport wants to go (as big as) 19-inch. then we will do that, but the comments [from Lowe and Allison] really reflected on the Strategy Group meeting

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Considering the amount of money spent tooling those composite wheels you cant really blame them

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There's no comparison between front engined dinosaurs that mostly just turn left and Formula 1. :P

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Yep 13" wheels and more than 850 hp.

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Considering the amount of money spent tooling those composite wheels you cant really blame them

The main issue is that changing to 18" rims with short-sidewall tires (the overall tire diameter would be the same as with the current 13 inchers) would require a substantial redesign of the cars' suspension systems as well.

Current F1 cars get most of their suspension compliance from sidewall flex. Just watch on-car video, or look at how little 'droop' there is in the suspension when the cars are jacked up.

Stiff, short sidewalls would mean that the suspension would have to supply the movement currently obtained from sidewall-flex in the relatively high aspect-ratio tires.

In other words, not a simple bolt-on proposition, at all.

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Brake disc size is another consideration. The brakes are already so good that the drivers experience 4Gs under braking! Even though larger wheels would allow larger brake disc the FIA would have to restrict the disc size or you might exceeed the drivers physical capacity to endure the deacceleration rate. Heck their eyeballs might even start popping out of their heads. :lol:

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Michelin applies to become sole tyre supplier from 2017

Michelin has applied to be Formula One's official tyre supplier from 2017 onwards with 18-inch rims, according to a report in Autosport.

The deadline for the FIA's tender process closes on June 17 and Michelin looks set to go up against current tyre supplier Pirelli for the three-year-contract from 2017. Pirelli has been the sport's sole tyre supplier since replacing Bridgestone in 2011.

"Yes, we have entered," Michelin Motorsport director Pascal Couasnon confirmed. "The reasoning is we've been proposing ideas, talking about Formula One and that we are disappointed, especially where it is today tyre-wise. If we want to be credible and consistent then you cannot complain or comment if you don't bring solutions.

"So it has made sense for me to say if we have ideas, then let's go and propose these ideas, and we'll see if people are interested or not. At least then nobody can say to us, 'well guys, you are talking, but you are not acting'. Now, we are acting."

The look of F1 tyres beyond 2017 remains uncertain. In May, the Strategy Group proposed wider tyres, while Pirelli has conducted tests on 18-inch tyres as recently as the Monaco Grand Prix. Couasnon confirmed Michelin's bid involved the low-profile tyre - which it currently supplies to Formula E.

"Those proposals remain, more than ever! In making a proposal we are trying to change the situation a little. We believe the image of tyres in Formula One is not what we would like to do, or makes sense. "The tyre used as an object you throw away after a few laps, or whatever, is not really something that is good for the tyre industry."

Michelin last supplied F1 tyres in 2006, when it held a joint contract with Bridgestone, as it helped Renault and Fernando Alonso to back-to-back titles.

Edited by afx

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Michelin has once again emphasised that their bid to return to Formula 1 is entirely depended on the sport changing its tyre specifications.

The current F1 tyres are 13 inches, but there has been a lot of talk that it could be changed to at least 18-inches after the 2016 season.

Michelin is in the running with Pirelli for the 2017 tyre supply contract, but the French company's motorsport head Pascal Couasnon warns they will only return if F1 agrees to make changes.

"If the sport decides to stay with 13 inch, we respect it but it would not make sense to us," he told Reuters.

He added: "That’s where we are going to wait for the next time (the contract is up for tender)."

Michelin left Formula 1 at the end of the 2006 season, but they are eager to return and produce tyres that last longer than the current ones produced by Pirelli.

"It’s not the message we want to give which is 'we’re going to invest a lot of technology to make a tyre which doesn’t last'," he said.

"I respect the strategy of my competitors but that’s not really the image and philosophy of Michelin.

"We can create pitstops with some other ideas but what Michelin would like to deliver first is a tyre where the driver has fun and is tired at the end of the race. Today they are not."

Meanwhile, motorsport director Paul Hembery says if F1 is going to make changes then they should not be fixated on a move to just 18 inches, they should rather go for a bigger step forward.

"To be honest the only appetite for going to 18, or something else, has come from external factors," he told Autosport. "The teams are actually very consistent by saying they want to stay with 13 and you can look at it two ways.

"I could sit here and say 18, to be honest, isn't relevant at all because that's what we put on our standard cars.

In reality, if you want to do something dramatic, you'd sit on 19 at least, but probably 20 or 21 because that's where the top-end [road] cars are these days.

"So if you're doing it, you'd want to make a huge jump. The majority of our circuit racing is done on 18-inch tyres already, so 18 isn't that unique."

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I prefer the 13 inch myself but then again I've been a huge F1 fan since the 60's and the 18 inch looks too 'modern' for my tastes.

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Proposed 18 inch setup. 70% of fans preferred them.

140149_new-1200px-1024x682.jpg

Mike where are you getting that data from?

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They're only on 13's?! Even NA$CAR rolls on 16's now!

Someone is feeding you a line,NASCAR still uses a Lot 15"x10" wheel and due to the inherent rise in brake costs if they start allowing a larger diameter wheel, I doubt if you will see a change in the near future.

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"Like for like, such tyres will have a lower grip and the weight will go up considerably, s

why don't they do this rather than nerfing the aero and other features they employ to try and slow down the cars?? (the reason they banned turbos)

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Proposed 18 inch setup. 70% of fans preferred them.

140149_new-1200px-1024x682.jpg

Those would give less sidewall roll, you think drivers would like that

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