Tyre Blankets Banned and Low-Profile Tyres Introduced For 2021 F1 Season

Close-up of 18 inch front tyre on a Lotus F1 car
Credit: Pirelli

Formula 1 will introduce a ban on tyre blankets and a change to low-profile 18 inch wheels for the 2021 F1 season.

The new front tyres set for 2021 will be narrower, dropping by 35mm to 270mm. The rears will stay the same, at 405mm, while diameters will increased from the current 670m to “700-720mm.”

The next contract to be the sport’s sole tyre supplier will run 2020 to the 2023 season, with the first season using the current tyres and blankets.

If a supplier other than current tyre supplier’s Pirelli win the bid, they’ll have to create the tyres from scratch for the 2020 season before introducing the low-profile tyres for the 2021 season.

The removal of tyre blankets will be the biggest technical challenge the sole tyre supplier will face. The subject of removing blankets have been long discussed but never made progress.

A report from Autosport.com notes that the FIA states that “tyres should provide safe performance when leaving the pits cold. The glass transition temperature must be chosen so that the tyres are never in a ‘glassy state’ when either the ambient or the track temperature is above 10 degrees centigrade.”

“For winter testing a specific low temperature tyre will be required. This will form the bulk of supply to the teams for European winter testing with a limited number of race compounds available,” while confirming that “wet and intermediate tyres should also be capable of running without the need for pre-heating.”

The FIA states the move is to improve the show for the fans and that the push should in the final year of the current tyre configurations, saying: “The provider should commit to achieving this in 75% of circuits in 2020, and to improve their performance with respect to this objective throughout the whole period of the tyre supply.”

There will be three tyre compounds at each race to simplified to the hard, medium and soft tyres compare to the multiple set range of tyres the sport has today.

The FIA hope the new tyres will create more variety in strategy in the races, with the intent of creating more pit stops compare to the harder tyres from the 2018 season.

“The intent is to create the maximum number of race strategies yielding race times such that multi-stop strategies provide just enough potential of a beneficial outcome to encourage the greatest variety in the racing spectacle.”

Suppliers will have until 31 August to submit a bid, with a decision based on technical and safety compliance to be made by 14 September. Liberty Media will then make its choice, which it has to propose prior to official approval to the FIA.