Vettel debuts 2017 ‘wide’ tyres at Pirelli test

Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel was the first driver to trial Pirelli’s new ‘P Zero Formula 1’ 2017 specification tyres today at Fiorano, Italy. The German driver completed some installation laps earlier today before switching to wet weather testing.

Driving a modified Ferrari SF15-T, which is designed to simulate the downforce of the 2017 car, Vettel is the first driver of many in the programme to test the new specification tyres. Vettel completed installation laps on next year’s ‘slick’ tyre, which was the followed up with some testing of the wide Pirelli intermediate and wet tyres on a dampened surface. Gutierrez, the former Ferrari reserve driver, will follow the same pattern as the World Champion tomorrow.

The 2017 specification ‘wide’ treads are 25% wider than that of the current tyres, with the aim of which is to help increase the overall speed of the car and help with grip. The exact dimensions of the tyres imposed by the rules is as follows: 305mm/670-13 at the front (as opposed to 245mm/660-13) and at the rear, 405mm/670-13. However, despite the increase of tread size, the dimensions of the wheel itself remain at 13 inches.

Vettel before heading out on the 2017 tyres - Credit: Pirelli
Vettel before heading out on the 2017 tyres – Credit: Pirelli

Another team taking part in the ‘slick’ tyre testing is Red Bull, who, on 3/4 August will trial the tyres in the dry in Mugello, again in Italy. This will be the second test of the programme that runs until November, and is the last before the summer break. Mercedes will be the team to start to programme again in September at Paul Ricard circuit in France.

The three teams of Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes will all complete eight days of testing each until the end of November and this year’s current season. There will be six days of testing on the slick tyres each, and two days for testing on the intermediate and wet tyres, with all teams having their final day of testing in Abu Dhabi two days after the final Grand Prix of the season.