F1 » Michelin tempers F1 rumours

While admitting that it would be ready to return if necessary, Michelin insists that changes need to be made to F1's tyre policy before it would engage in talks...

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August 27, 2013 11:30 AM

Michelin's insistance of a switch to 18'' wheels shows that they aren't serious about a return to supplying F1. They know that such a radical switch is far too late in the season for 2014 as it would require wholesale changes to aero, suspension, brakes, wheels and pretty much everything! Looks to me that all that Michelin wanted to do is get some free publicity and destabilise Pirelli.


August 27, 2013 11:51 AM

“Michelin insistence to a switch to 18 inch wheels shows they are not serious” I don't agree, because Michelin has been insisting on 18 inch wheels and low profile tyres since Moseley's time as a condition for them supplying the F1 grid.
At least they have been consistent in their demands from before signing a contract which unlike Pirelli done it also means they will not attempt to change the goal posts halfway through a season, they also declared that contract talks will have to be held with all concerned and that includes the FIA.


August 27, 2013 1:20 PM

sunny. right. from a technical point it wold appear that 18 inch wheels would make for a safer tyre. currently the tall sidewalls are being used as suspension and also are put under immense strain dealing with lateral g. if we had shorter sidewalls, teams would have to put proper suspension on their cars, and sidewalls would not flex as much laterally putting far less stress on the tyre, reducing the overheating that is the major cause of construction failure.
before, I was against larger wheels, but now I see the benefits of them.


August 27, 2013 2:07 PM
Last Edited 979 days ago

Sorry, but your claim that 18'' inch tyres would be safer are unfounded. Tall sidewall tyres can be made as safe as houses, It's just that Pirelli (and Michelin) in the past have sailed too close to the limit in the persuit of 'the show' and performance respectively.

The teams have argued against the introduction of low profile F1 tyres, as they would ride much harder to the detriment of the durability of other components. The unsprung mass of the larger wheels would also require a further beefing up of suspension components and safety tethers.

I'm not sure either of you fully appreciate just how much redesign would be required with a switch to 18'' wheels. The teams would quite literally have to rethink everything from the ground up when most of them will be signing off their 2014 monocoque designs or already in the process of actually building them! It can't and won't happen. Michelin know this only too well.


August 27, 2013 3:03 PM

So why are modern road cars being made with bigger and bigger wheel diameters and lower profiles? A lot of these produce a hideously uncomfortable ride but they still persist.
If a smaller diameter wheel and high profile is better for suspension and durability of other bits in F1, would the same logic not apply to road cars?


August 27, 2013 3:15 PM
Last Edited 979 days ago

Road cars are coming with bigger and bigger wheels because they look good and not because of performance. Stick a bigger wheel on a road car with the same model of tyre compared to one which is running wheels a couple of inches smaller and it will usually lap slower and ride worse. It's for styling, pure and simple. The car manufacturers even design their cars with huge wheel arches, to make them look cr@p on the standard wheels. This forces you pay extra at the time of ordering for the larger wheels which the car was originally styled for.

The heavier wheels force the manufacturers to fit beefier dampers and higher spring-rates which don't ride as well due to having to control the greater unsprung mass, further ruining your ride quality. The chassis has to be beefed up too and then bigger brakes have to be fitted to cope with all this extra mass, increasing unsprung mass even more! Cars weigh a lot more these days, not just due to safety reasons.


August 27, 2013 4:07 PM

Rather what I had suspected but was hesitant as the road going supercars all follow this philosophy. If a change to smaller wheels meant an extra few mph and a better ride it would seem daft for them not to steal a march on their rivals.


August 27, 2013 8:55 PM

Dennis, I am no tyre engineer but I fully understand the implications of a bigger diameter wheel/tyre re the design of an F1 car, I also understand that a bigger wheel diameter would make for a safer tyre (as Richard said).
Michelin made it clear they want to supply 18 inch tyres rather than the current 13 inch once, and that they are simply no fans of formula 1's new era of deliberately producing a tyre that heavily degrade, and that they believe that formula is not about changing tyres after a few laps, they believe that F1 should take the opportunity to change rules to bring in wheels and tyres that reflect better what people use on the road.
Some of the statements they made reflects the opinions of F1 followers like me re the manipulations/directions by the powers that be given to the outcome/results of F1 racing.


August 27, 2013 9:26 PM

mr fill. having a smaller wheel does not mean more mph. as with road cars, when you use a bigger wheel, you reduce the aspect ratio of the tyre. circumference and overall diameter stays the same.

dennis. of course the tyre will be safer. watch the existing tyres in slo mo. first of all the high side wall allows torque wind up between the wheel and the tread. secondly, watch how the car wheel centre moves laterally compared to the tread. all this movement is causing serious flexing in the side wall, and with this flexing comes heat. n fact, that was manly the problem with the new construction that failed so badly. the heat was excessive and caused vulcanising failure and delamination. lower profile tyres will eliminate a lot of the flexing, so tyres will be safer.


August 27, 2013 10:33 PM
Last Edited 979 days ago

You are both missing the point I am making. I know that Michelin have stated several demands. But so what if Michelin want a change to 18'' wheels? So what if Michelin don't want the engineered high wear of the Pirellis? So what if the change to a lower profiole tyre will be (obviously) more relevent to road tyres? None if this changes the fact that IT IS TOO LATE to change to 18'' wheels for 2014! 107SS2009, if you understand the implications of such a change, then you flat-out cannot deny this fact.

Teams will have been designing cars for the new 2014 regs for at least two years or even longer. We're talking hundreds of millions of pounds and thousands and thousands of man-hours. If the FIA stipulated a change to 18'' wheels for 2014, they'd have a revolt on their hands from the teams, the manufacturers and the sponsors. Such a change would require giving the teams at least 18 months notice.

If the FIA introduce 18'' wheels for the 2014 season, then I'll eat my cat. Raw.

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