F1 teams face 2017 design delay over wind tunnel tyres

Formula 1 teams are facing delays in pushing on with their 2017 car designs because the lack of a contract between the FIA and Pirelli for next year means much-needed wind tunnel tyres have not been released.

F1 teams face 2017 design delay over wind tunnel tyres
Listen to this article

With F1 switching to wider tyres next year as part of a move to make cars up to five seconds per lap faster, teams are well aware that the aerodynamic influence of the new rubber will have a major effect on their car concepts.

But although Pirelli has already manufactured the first batch of wind tunnel tyres that teams will want to use for development, it is understood that they are unlikely to be given out until the Italian company's final contract with the FIA for its 2017-2019 F1 supply deal has been signed off.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed in Australia that the wind tunnel tyres were ready, but suggested that until there was clarity over 2017 contracts, it could not distribute them.

"We physically have them available," he said. "We are just finalising details of contracts with the FIA and then we need to do the teams. Also we need the final regulations to be confirmed."

Without the wind tunnel tyres – which are essential for simulating how the actual rubber will deform under load – then teams are limited to just CFD simulations for their 2017 car concepts.

The computer data – which will be based on an anticipated 405/670/13 rear and 305/670/13 front – will be of limited use however and teams will not want to invest too much effort in case the wind tunnel rubber performs differently.

Contract delay

Although Pirelli's success in winning the F1 supply contract from 2017 to 2019 was announced by Bernie Ecclestone at last year's Russian Grand Prix, its contract with the FIA has not yet been ratified.

The exact reasons for the delay are unclear but it is known that there remain key demands from Pirelli about securing a proper testing programme ahead of 2017.

The idea of using a V8-powered car to kick off its development work over the next few months has been agreed in principle, but there has not yet been an official sign off which chassis it will get nor which teams will be running it.

Furthermore, although F1's 2017 technical regulations have been agreed, there remains scope for changes to be made until the end of April, something that Pirelli is mindful of.

Testing push

The delay in releasing the wind tunnel tyres will put the FIA contractual situation, and the testing matter, in to sharp focus and may well force teams to do more to help resolve remaining uncertainties so they too can get on with their work.

Hembery remains hopeful that a testing solution will be found – both for getting hold of a car and having enough days to run a proper programme.

"We are getting close to getting a car," he said. "We've also had very clear assurances that we will get 12 days, hopefully with two cars but a maximum of three.

"Ideally we would like to get some work done on a previous generation V8, so we can do some of the conceptual work.

"We are changing concepts in terms of compounding and structures, which you can do initially screening on a V8 before you move to a hybrid version of the 2017 car."

shares
comments
McLaren forced to issue a fresh F1 engine to Fernando Alonso following Australian Grand Prix crash
Previous article

McLaren forced to issue a fresh F1 engine to Fernando Alonso following Australian Grand Prix crash

Next article

Davidson: Motorsport needs F1 to be a success

Davidson: Motorsport needs F1 to be a success
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter Prime

When F1 'holiday' races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Prime

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week, and though it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted more just why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action.

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023