Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery says the Italian supplier’s 18-inch concept tyres have received positive feedback from Formula 1 fans.
Lotus tested the low-profile tyres on the second and final day of the Silverstone in-season test, with Charles Pic at the wheel of the Renault-powered E22.
“I think if we go one day to this type of tyre it will be a big challenge,” the Frenchman said. “First for the team because they will have to build a completely new car around this because the philosophy is completely different and you would need to build all the car around this type of tyre.
“I think it will also be a challenge for the driver because they are completely different. On the looks side it’s looking for sure different, so I think some people will like them and some people not.”
Hembery revealed during Friday’s FIA press conference that the reaction to the 18-inch tyres has been largely positive. “It was an exercise that was born out of a discussion we had in the F1 Commission meetings when there was a discussion of, particularly in this case, tyres and what should happen with them in the future,” he said.
“We felt rather than discuss it, we ought to put some on a current car and people can actually decide and the F1 Commission can see real images of the car with that sort of tyre on them. These are 18, maybe 19 is probably more interesting going forward.
“Have to say that the feedback we’ve had generally has been very good. People have been forwarding us all sorts of surveys and fan surveys that they’ve had on their individual websites. Between 70 and 80 per cent, depending on the survey, have been very favourable.
“On a personal level, it looked quite good. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like it, if I’m honest, but I thought it looked very good and quite natural.”
He added that the introduction of low-profile tyres is more likely to take place in 2017: “If it’s a route the sport wants to follow, we’d be keen to do. We, technically, could probably be ready in 2016 but the sport is talking about 2017 at the moment.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic