Formula 1’s official tyre supplier, Pirelli, used the final day of this week’s in-season test to show off its experimental 18-inch wheel concept, which was tested by the Lotus F1 Team at Silverstone on Wednesday.

The Italian company is known to be keen to move away from the 13-inch wheel size that has been in use in the sport, repeatedly arguing that lower-profile tyres would bring Formula 1 in line with the road car industry.

The proposal has attracted criticism within F1 circles – and among some fans – with engineers and designers concerned that the move to larger-sized wheels would present significant challenges to aerodynamics and suspension geometry.

The Lotus E22 fitted with the low-profile tyres was shown off to the waiting press ahead of the in-season testing action getting underway. The team’s reserve driver Charles Pic had the exclusive opportunity to run the new tyres in the morning session.

“It was special to be the first person to try the new Pirelli 18 inch tyres,” the Frenchman said.

“It was a very early evaluation test and the different tyres and wheels affect the aerodynamics of the car quite a lot, but you could certainly feel that the tyres felt different to those we’re used to on an F1 car. It was interesting for me to be part of this very first run to see how they handled and give initial feedback to Pirelli.”

Image via James Allen

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.