The 18-inch tire is an idea that Pirelli has promoted ever since the company was first announced as official tire supplier back in 2010. Larger wheel and tire sizes reflect modern market trends; with the adoption of a larger size invariably leading to even greater technology transfer between Formula One tires and road car tires.
Pirelli would only progress this initiative if there were a genuine desire from the teams, promoter and other stakeholders to move in such a direction. This is in accordance with the Italian firm's consistent philosophy of being a technical partner and sponsor entirely at the service of the teams and the sport, in order to benefit the spectacle as a whole.
These tires, developed and created by Pirelli's engineers as part of the company's premium strategy, serve only as an example of what is possible. However, the technology is in place already to produce this type of tire with the same standards of performance and reliability set by the current 13-inch rubber. Indeed, with a new tire concept right at the beginning of its development curve, the possibilities are almost limitless. These include even larger sizes in future.
A new 18-inch tire would not be without its technical challenges to produce, although the pay-off would be increased rigidity through having less flexibility in the sidewalls. Nonetheless, this necessary movement forms an important part of the current Formula One car's suspension and damping.
A smaller sidewall would also inevitably lead to drastically reduced branding space. In spite of this, Pirelli is completely ready and capable to move ahead with development of such a tire should the teams wish for it to happen. And proof of this proactive capability lies in the existence of the tires that will be circulating around Silverstone next week. Pitpass.com