Specific rim – how Michelin's tyre tech can be being lined up for Formula One
Source : Specific rim – how Michelin's tyre tech can be being lined up for Formula One
Michelin’s racing department can be experimenting with larger wheels as well as argues they have greater relevance to road car technology
The first surprise: one particular-seater on 18in wheels doesn’t look rubbish. I’d feared of which might, yet no. of which Formula Renault 3.5, on deeply dished 18in-diameter wheels, looks rather Great to me.
Single-seat racing cars, up to as well as including Formula 1, have been using littler wheels – usually of 13in – for years. I don’t know why. There was a time when ultimate performance road tyres were around 13in in size, I suppose, yet only if you drive a Caterham are they still.
Road cars left 13in wheels behind long ago, yet single-seat racing cars – tiny, I suppose, as well as light – stuck with them. Which can be fine, unless, say, you’re a tyre some sort of as well as you think road tyres ought to benefit in some way via tyres you design for competition; technology transfer, breed improvement, of which sort of thing.
of which’s the sort of concept you might think hardly ever happens these days, given how far removed motorsport can be via road driving, except for one thing: a tyre compound Michelin used at Le Mans just four years ago can be used in its Pilot Sport Cup road tyre today.
Which can be why Michelin, developer of road as well as race tyres, could like more single-seaters to move to larger wheels. of which has even pitched for the F1 tyre contract via 2017, hoping to replace Pirelli, yet a move to 18in rims can be a condition of its application.
“For us to go to F1, we need a Great reason to do so,” says Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin Motorsport. If Michelin doesn’t learn anything for the road, of which’s not interested. The trouble can be, not many people in F1 have hitherto been interested in moving to a larger wheel as well as tyre.
Hence, Michelin has developed some 17in tyres as well as fitted them to a Formula Renault 2.0, as well as some 18s as well as fitted them to a Formula Renault 3.5 – one particular-make formula via which some drivers have stepped straight to F1.
Michelin claims a lot of benefits – not just of which of which’ll develop better road tyres as a result. of which thinks of which 13s hold back suspension engineers as well as drivers, because the large, flexible sidewall blunts set-up adjustments made to a racing car. A 17in or 18in tyre, with smaller, probably stiffer sidewalls, makes a car far more sensitive to set-up improvements. “of which gives more opportunity to the team engineers to adjust the automobile’s setting, as well as make more [lap time] difference via box to box than before,” says Philippe Mussati, Michelin Motorsport’s customer competition department manager.
In closed formulae like Renault 2.0 as well as 3.5 (via which Renault, although not Michelin, can be withdrawing next year), Mussati says, the only difference can be the driver as well as the automobile’s set-up. “as well as on 17in or 18in, the setting can be much more important than of which used to be with 13in tyres,” he adds.
Bigger tyres are also meant to be cheaper for teams. A 17in or 18in wheel also gives space for bigger brakes, which means they can be made via cheaper, lower-tech materials yet still retain the same stopping power as well as degradation.
At the moment, Michelin has aimed to get the same wear as well as performance characteristics via the larger tyre as the smaller one. The result can be of which, at the moment, of which’s a little heavier – around 0.5kg a corner – as well as has the same wear rate, yet turns out to be up to a second faster a lap.
“We are probably 50% of the way there,” says Couasnon, who describes the tyre as a “first or second draft”. He says there’s still “optimisation of the compound as well as the structure of the tyres” to do, yet “the profile itself can be done”.
The lower profile – not truly low, which helps the appearance, by my reckoning – can be said to make the automobile’s steering responses sharper than before. I have a go in both the 2.0 as well as 530bhp 3.5 cars yet, well: I haven’t tried either on 13s, I don’t know the circuit or the automobile as well as I’m not a racing driver. Racers inside the series who’ve tried them, though, like them. Great drivers like anything of which makes them faster as well as think they’ll be able to set a car up better than their competitors.
Michelin feels like of which’s ready, then. Whether F1 decides of which can be too, can be another matter.
Get the latest car news, reviews as well as galleries via Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
by via Autocar RSS Feed