F1 to switch to 18-inch wheels from 2021

Image by Zak Mauger/LAT

F1 to switch to 18-inch wheels from 2021

Formula 1

F1 to switch to 18-inch wheels from 2021


Formula 1 will move to 18-inch wheels from the 2021 season and ban the use of tire blankets, according to the latest tire tender issued by the FIA.

Pirelli’s current contract runs until the end of 2019, with the next tender from the FIA now open to cover the following four seasons. As a result, the first year of the new contract will see the current tire and wheel dimensions retained, before a change to 18-inch wheels and narrower front tires from 2021 onward.

The front tires will reduce in width from the current 305mm to 270mm, while the rears will remain at the current 405mm. The diameter with wheels fitted is expected to be in the region of 700-720mm, which is slightly up from the current 670mm.

Tire blankets can continue to be used in 2020 but will not be allowed with the new specification of tire for the following three seasons. These changes are provisional in anticipation of the expected technical changes to the cars in 2021.

As part of the tender, the FIA states that it “will inform the provider of objectives that affect the sporting spectacle and are related to degradation, durability, temperature working range or wear characteristics. The FIA will reserve the right to amend these requirements once per calendar year.”

Aside from safety, the primary objectives (in descending order of priority) listed by the FIA are improvement of the show; drivability characteristics; absolute performance; and operating conditions.

The FIA also states it wants the hardest compound used at each venue to suffer two seconds of degradation at 22% race distance, compared to the same drop-off occurring at 18% race distance for the medium and 10% for the softest compound. In terms of performance, the medium is expected to be 1.2s per lap quicker and the softest compound 2.2s per lap faster than the hardest. The supplier is expected to hit these targets at 75% of circuits in 2020, with an improvement year-on-year.

Potential suppliers have to submit their interest via the tender by August 31 of this year, with the FIA then deciding if each applicant complies with the technical and safety requirements by September 14.