Formula One tender aims for low-profile tyres in 2021

F1 to switch to 18-inch wheels from 2021			Image by Zak Mauger  LAT

Formula 1 now uses 13-inch wheels, and previously explored 18-inch wheels during a brief test with Lotus in 2014. The diameter with wheels fitted is expected to be in the region of 700-720mm, which is slightly up from the current 670mm.

According to a document by the FIA, "in keeping with the overall objectives for the evolution of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations in 2021, which aim (amongst other things) to improve the racing spectacle, significant changes to the tyre dimensions are planned ".

The biggest change is the loss of tyre blankets.

The FIA has noted, however, that it believes there is a way forward that will not require a change of heart this time.

This would result in tyres having a much lower profile than now and require substantial changes to the suspension as how a auto would ride kerbs would be very different.

To overcome the issue of having inappropriate tyres during winter testing, a special "low-temperature" compound is also mentioned with only a select number of race compounds to be made available during the tests.

"The glass transition temperature must be chosen so that the tyres are never in a "glassy state" when either the ambient or the track temperature is above 10 degrees centigrade".

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In addition, "in order to stabilise at a pressure that provides peak performance, the tyres must be capable of commencing running at cold pressures compatible with achieving suitable stabilised pressures".

Tyre degradation - which determines how long a tyre will be used and defines its window of peak performance - is "considered desirable both for its impact on race strategies and to ensure tyres are not run to a point of excessive wear". "It is suggested that an underlayer of low performance is designed below the tread compound to achieve this".

Perhaps the most radical proposal, however, is the banning of tyre blankets, which are now used to warm up the rubber in the pits before being fitted to the cars. The FIA hopes that will allow for a mix of one-stop, two-stop and three-stop strategies at races, with a ones-top impossible if drivers are using the softest compound tyre.

The tender process, which will remain open until the end of August, will centralize parties meeting the FIA's technical and safety requirements before commercial rights holder Liberty Media conducts negotiations with the bidders and proposes its final selection to the FIA.

As from the 2021, the FIA said reassuringly, a tire should be able to recover more quickly from degradation "once a period of aggressive driving or close following (behind another car) ceases".

The FIA said it expects to decide as to the technical and safety requirements by September 14.



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