Tyres remain an unknown for Vettel
By Mat Coch
Thursday 17th March, 2022 - 5:00pm
How the new-spec tyres will fare once the Formula 1 season gets going remains a great unknown for Sebastian Vettel.
Gaining an understanding of the newer, larger Pirelli tyres was a primary consideration for teams in pre-season testing.
Larger, 18” wheels have seen the tyre circumference increase while the sidewalls decrease.
The tyres are also designed to be less sensitive to thermal build-up in an effort to allow drivers to slide and follow one another without overheating the tyres.
With those factors combined, plus the uncertainties offered up by the all-new aerodynamic rules, there remain many great unknowns heading into the season this weekend.
“We’re still early days,” Vettel after completing pre-season testing.
“I’ve driven here in the mornings, slash in the hotter times of the day, so not favouring the tyres in that regard.
“The cars are heavier, so in fairness, it’s a much higher challenge for the tyres to deal with.
“So I think we need to wait, that’s basically what I want to say; wait and see, see how it feels next weekend, see if we can race close.
“We all don’t have a full answer on that yet. See if we can race harder behind the other car or whether we start sliding and then the tyres start to give in.
“But certainly the challenge this year, just to the product, to Pirelli, has increased, hence I guess the change, but we will see whether we meet the expectations or not.”
The 2022 Formula 1 season kicks off on Friday with the Bahrain Grand Prix, opening practice for which commences at 23:00 AEDT.