POSITIVE FORMULA 2 RACES SHOW THE WAY FORWARD FOR FORMULA 1
The results seen from the opening Formula 2 races this year, featuring 18-inch tyres for the first time, are a positive sign for 2022 – when Formula 1 also adopts this size as part of a package of new technical measures.
Having tested 18-inch tyres in a series of private sessions last year, F2 has been racing on the new larger diameter since the start of this season in Austria. When F1 adopts the bigger tyre size in 2022, the cars will look different, so it’s hard to compare. But this year’s F2 cars are virtually unchanged since last year, with only relatively minor modifications to the chassis. And this allows a clearer comparison from different angles.
FASTER LAP TIMES. The larger wheels and tyres, plus other modifications mentioned earlier, mean that a F2 car now weighs about 30 kilograms more than last year, which should theoretically result in lap times that are a full second per lap slower. However, the racing lap times in Austria actually proved to be faster than they were last year, even taking into account the difference in weather conditions. This comes from the increased grip and speed through corners in particular, adding up to an overall faster lap time.
BETTER FEELING. Not only that, but the drivers also enjoyed the feeling of the new 18-inch tyres. Formula 2 adopts a slightly different philosophy to Formula 1, as the tyres still have a deliberate degree of degradation, to help young drivers learn about tyre management.
MORE CONSISTENCY. Nonetheless, the drivers enjoyed the extra consistency that allowed them to push more consistently throughout the whole of a stint, with less drop-off in performance. Degradation was also reduced, and a wide variety of strategies were seen in the feature race, with some strong fightbacks.
STRONG IN THE WET. The F2 drivers also had the opportunity to sample the 18-inch Cinturato wet tyres both in Austria and in Hungary, reporting good driveability even in full wet conditions; as could also be seen from the high top speeds recorded at the end of the straight.
MARIO ISOLA, HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING – “Although we won’t see any 18-inch Formula 1 tyres testing on track until next year, what we’ve already seen in Formula 2 is a very encouraging sign for the future. The compound steps are similar to last year and the cars are exactly the same, which means that all these comparisons between 13-inch and 18-inch tyres are entirely valid. The new-generation 2022 F1 cars will be heavier with different aerodynamics, which should bring overall lap times down a bit, but we can expect more consistency, less overheating and an even better show: which our new tyres will play an integral role in helping to provide.”