Pirelli can be ready for 18-inch debut in 2016

 Paul Hembery poses with Lotus E22 on 18 inch Pirelli tyres

Paul Hembery poses with Lotus E22 on 18 inch Pirelli tyres

Formula 1’s exclusive tyre supplier, Pirelli can be “ready to supply” low-profile tyres to Formula 1 teams by 2016.

That is the claim of the Italian company’s chief Paul Hembery, in the wake of the test of the first 18-inch prototype at Silverstone last week.

Currently, the sport’s old 13-inch standard is enshrined in the regulations, but both from an aesthetic point of view and also to bring Formula 1 up-to-date with modern technology trends, a move to a lower profile tyre is now being considered.

But, last week, reports suggested that 18-inch tyres are unlikely to feature until at least 2017.

Indeed, Hembery admitted that lower profile tyres pose a development challenge, because the current 13-inch design is more resilient and easier to handle.

“The FIA is talking about the 2017 season,” he is quoted by Russia’s Formula 1news.ru, “and I think the decision will be made this year.

“This is a realistic time frame, but if the teams want – and we will try – then we could implement these tyres already in 2016.

“We’re going to run 18 and 19-inch with GP2 cars,” Hembery revealed, “but it will still require a lot of research.” (GMM)