SILVERSTONE, England, July 4 (Reuters) - Pirelli will test a new larger Formula One tyre at Silverstone next week that the company says would make the sport more relevant to ordinary road users and could be the shape of things to come.
Grand Prix cars currently use 13 inch tyres but Pirelli said in a statement they would demonstrate an 18 inch design “to showcase the way that Formula One could look in the near future.”
As part of the test, a 2014 Lotus equipped with fully functional concept tyres will lap Silverstone next Wednesday.
“Larger wheel and tyre sizes reflect modern market trends,” Pirelli said. “With the adoption of a larger size invariably leading to even greater technology transfer between Formula One tyres and road car tyres.”
Pirelli said the 18 inch tyre would pose technical challenges, particularly relating to the car’s suspension, and smaller sidewalls would also lead to reduced space for their own branding.
The company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery pointed out that many other motorsport series already used the larger size of tyre and wheels and there was scope to go even bigger in Formula One in years to come.
The new Formula E electric series due to start up in September uses 18 inch Michelin tyres as do all Le Mans 24 Hours prototype and GT cars. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Keith Weir)