One of the changes for the 2022 season are the 18-inch tyres which are expected to improve the racing spectacle.
19 drivers and 9 teams tested the new tyres during 28 days using 392 sets and completing 4,267 laps on 10 circuits.
Pirelli's Head of F1, Mario Isola, talked about what to expect from the new tyre:
“In a busy season with all the constraints and 22 races, it was, I believe, a big achievement [to develop the 18-inch tyre]. Also, because… this tyre is designed in a different way, with different targets: our drivers are asking for less overheating, less degradation, they want to push on tyres, they want to fight on track, and clearly we decided and we agreed with the FIA, FOM and the teams to follow this direction.”
“So, we had to design a new profile, new construction, optimise the footprint, design a new range of compounds. It is a completely new product with a new approach, and I believe it will be quite helpful also for other activities in the company.”
Isola talked said how Abu Dhabi was a great test for the tyre, and good data was retrieved:
“In terms of comparison to the tyre development tests that we ran during the season, I would say that we have confirmed that the new product has the characteristics that I mentioned before, so: less overheating, drivers have the opportunity to push more. That was important in Abu Dhabi because in Abu Dhabi we had also some traffic. That was something we could not simulate during our tyre development test where we had one car that was running on track or two cars maximum.”
“In terms of wear, it’s difficult to make a prediction because we were using mule cars, so we need to wait for the real performance of the new 2022 cars”
During the 2021 season, Isola talked about the differences between the two tyres, telling the new ones will not be much slower according to simulations:
“At the beginning we were talking about more than three seconds per lap; now it’s half a second, one second, so if they start with only one second difference it means that during the season they probably achieve the same level of performance that we had in 2021.”
The Italian also said Pirelli started working with BBS, new sole wheel suppliers for 2022, meeting consistently:
“Yes, we had a working group that was managed by the FIA together with BBS, Pirelli and also the supplier of the [temperature and pressure] sensor that is also standard.”
“We started in 2020… together with BBS. We also ran some tests with the 18-inches tyres fitted to BBS rims. It was very useful approach to have this working group that were meeting every week to monitor the progression of the activity.”