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Isola: Time is running for 2021 F1 tyre production

Formula 1 has already announced that the Pirelli supplied tyres will change from 13-inch (33.02 cm) wheel rims to 18-inch ones as of 2021 and beyond when tyre warmers will also be banned from the pinnacle of the sport.

Pirelli’s motor racing chief Mario Isola said the combined changes posed a major challenge for Pirelli, who last November won a tender to remain as sole supplier until the end of the 2023 season.

The bigger tyres will have to be safe at temperatures ranging from 20 degrees Celsius when leaving the garage to 120 during the race, with a corresponding increase in pressure.

The 2021 technical regulations, aiming to facilitate overtaking by allowing cars to follow more closely, have yet to be finalised, however, and time is pressing.

“We already started to design the new tyres because we cannot wait. The deadline was already in the past,” said Isola.

“What we can do is adapt the tyres, the design, to the new rules when they are available. But we need to know at least 80-90 percent of the expected performance of the cars as soon as possible… without that information it is really a challenge.

“We have two years in front of us before using the 18-inch tyres so it’s important that we use this time in a good way. We cannot lose time but I believe we can do something good if we have the right process.”

The Italian said Pirelli would devote the first part of 2019 to developing next year’s tyres and then switch their full focus to 2021.

“We don’t want to stop the development of the 2019 product because there is something more we can do and we know that,” he said. “But for sure, the second half of 2019 will be dedicated to 18-inch tyres.”

“I would say six months for 2020 and then we switch to 18-inches and dedicate 100 percent of the people to the new size and new challenge.”