Testing for new 2022 tyres gets underway

Pirelli’s 18-inch tyres on the Mercedes F1 car

Pirelli’s testing programme ahead of next year’s introduction of 18-inch tyres in Formula 1 has begun.

The new, larger-sized rubber is being put to the test across 28 days and 10 sessions in the next few months, with Ferrari having already tried out the 18-inch tyres at Jerez in February.

More testing will take place in Bahrain following the season-opener, with Ferrari scheduled in again and Alpine next in line to take part.

Every team except for Williams is due to participate in Pirelli’s testing ahead of the switch from the current 13-inch tyre for next year.

Teams will test in both dry and wet conditions to help the tyre manufacturer collect a wide array of data after the programme was delayed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing, explained that no plans are set in concrete yet.

“We’re looking forward to resuming our tests for the new 18-inch tyres shortly, but as the COVID-19 pandemic – which led to the suspension of the test programme last year – is not yet over, it’s possible that our planned schedule for this year may have to be modified,” he said.

“As a result, we have a back-up plan too.

“Nonetheless, we have put together a programme that should enable us to pick up solidly from where we left off in 2019 and finalise the specification for a new generation of tyre under fresh regulations that will give Formula 1 a very different look next year.

“Many thanks to all the teams for their support in providing simulations and mule cars, giving us a good base to work from.

“We will be testing both our slick and wet prototype 18-inch tyres for 2022: we started already at Jerez in Spain for three days with Ferrari, and we will end up at France’s Magny-Cours circuit with Alpine in September.”

Mercedes will also test the new tyres at Imola after the circuit hosts a Grand Prix in April.

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