18-inch tyres will be used in the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship as Pirelli prepares its introduction for Formula 1 in the future.
The Italian tyre supplier provides tyres to F1, F2 and the new FIA Formula 3 series. Pirelli won the contract to be the sole tyre supplier for the future of the sport, beating the likes of Hankook and Michelin.
As part of the 2021 regulation shake-up by Formula 1, 18-inch tyres have been the plan for introduction as part of the rules and regulation change. In a bid to prepare for the tyre change in 2021, Pirelli will introduce the new 18-inch tyres into F1’s feeder series, F2.
“This is a great opportunity for Formula 2 and our drivers: we are the training ground for Formula 1 and as such it is important that we race with the same type of tyres as the ones used in F1,” said Bruno Michel, FIA Formula 2 CEO.
“I am very pleased that F2 will race with the 18 inch tyres as early as 2020 which means that the drivers who will graduate from our championship to F1 in 2021 will be able to adapt even quicker. This is not the first time that we have been a test bed for F1 and in the past some new elements were implemented at our level before then being applied to F1.
“The next step is an intensive development programme to ensure that everything is ready for next season, notably an upgrade kit for our 2018 cars to fit the new tyres.”
Pirelli and F1 first started testing 18-inch tyres back in 2014, when Charles Pic in the Lotus E22 tested the tyre configuration at Silverstone. Further test were done at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix when Martin Brundle drove a GP2 car with the 18-inch tyres.
Throughout the 2019 season, both Pirelli and F2 will work together in numerous tests in preparation for the tyre switch next year. The first shakedown test took place at the Autodromo del Mugello track on Wednesday.
Pirelli’s Mario Isola is pleased to introduce 18-inch tyres to a Grand Prix weekend next year as part of their preparation of F1 in 2021. The introduction of the new tyres for F1 is still subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
“We are delighted to introduce 18-inch tyres to grand prix weekends next season, a full year before they race in Formula 1, as the next chapter of our pioneering and proactive partnership with Formula 2,” commented Isola.
“This move will assist us greatly as we develop a new generation of Formula 1 tyres for 2021, and also benefit next year’s Formula 2 drivers themselves as they gain early experience of the future tyre size in Formula 1.”
Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, a special press conference took place feature both Michel, Isola, F1’s Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds and President of FIA Single-Seater Commission, Stefano Domenicali.