Why F1’s swap from 13-inch to 18-inch tires is vital

A pair of high-end tires side-by-side on pedastals.

Enlarge / On the left, a 2021-spec 13-inch Formulation One tire. To its proper, a 2022-spec 18-inch F1 tire. (credit score: Steven Tee / LAT Photographs)

Formulation One goes to Abu Dhabi this weekend. When the checkered flag waves and the fireworks fireplace on Sunday night time, it should end an exciting season, with both Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen rising as this yr’s champion.

However the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix does not simply mark the top of an thrilling yr’s racing—it additionally sees the top of an period as the game prepares for a radical change to its tires. For many years, F1 automobiles have run on 13-inch wheels, wrapped in tires with high-profile sidewalls. However as a part of 2022’s radical technical shakeup, the game is now becoming a member of a lot of the remainder of the racing world because it adopts 18-inch wheels and new, low-profile racing rubber.

There was fairly a level of freedom in wheel measurement and selection for F1’s first few many years, which could shock these accustomed to the present sport’s inflexible and prescriptive rulebook. The transfer to straightforward 13-inch wheels occurred within the 1980s, at a time when 13-inch wheels have been nonetheless typically fitted to street automobiles—albeit smaller, cheaper ones.

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