F1: Vettel says 18-inch tires are faster

(GMM) Alfa Romeo’s technical boss has warned Formula 1 drivers not to get too excited about the move to low-profile 18-inch tires for 2022.

F1 drivers have been getting a good taste of Pirelli’s new tires so far in 2021, with Haas, Red Bull and Aston Martin doing the post-British GP test and Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari following suit in Hungary.

After his outing, quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel sounded hopeful.

“You can drive at the limit for longer without these tires overheating,” the German told Auto Motor und Sport.

“They are more comfortable over the curbs and offer more grip in slow and medium-to-fast corners. I felt faster in those sections than with the normal tires,” Vettel added.

The Aston Martin driver said his biggest criticism is the larger physical size of the tires, which makes cockpit visibility even more difficult than at present.

“The big wheels make the view even worse. All the mirror mounts are in the way,” said Vettel.

“The best thing would be for the mirrors to be attached to the Halo.”

The air defectors block the view of the curbs. Drivers will need ‘curb feelers’ to feel their way thru!

Indeed, the view will get even worse in 2022, when mandatory bodywork on the inside of the front wheels is added.

“With these covers and the big wheels you can no longer see the curbs,” Vettel confirmed.

Alfa Romeo technical boss Jan Monchaux, however, warns Vettel and other F1 drivers not to get too excited about their hopes for better tire performance with the 18-inch tires.

The 2022 tires are several kilograms heavier than the current high profile versions, and Monchaux thinks drivers will also feel the extra weight of next year’s cars.

“They’re currently driving them (the tires) with current cars that have not been optimized for these tires,” he said.

“Let’s wait and see what they say when the tires are loaded up with 40 kilograms more and the aerodynamic properties are different.”