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

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
Load comments
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021