Mercedes hits out at F1’s stupid move to 18-inch tires for 2022

James Allison
James Allison

(GMM) James Allison says the 18-inch rims for 2022 means that Formula 1 is switching to a "worse tire" that is heavier and slower.

Mercedes' technical boss noted the current tire specifications have remained similar for "decades", and surmised that the new rule is essentially for the aesthetic effect and road car relevance.

"This sort of balloon-type tire that you see on our cars today is a really good solution for going quickly," he said.

"The new tires are going to be heavier, lower grip and worse for ride," Allison added. "They're going to slow the cars down by somewhere between one and two seconds, somewhere around that."

He said the strongest argument for the scrapping of the current tires is because low-profile rims are more popular among a certain demographic.

"I guess if you are a 13-year-old boy or a fan of 'Fast and Furious' you'd like how they look," said Allison.

"In road cars, performance is not at such a premium, economics are much more important, and so aligning our world better with the road car means it's probably more relevant.

"It's also important because it means that tire manufacturers are more inherently interested in being part of Formula 1, and that is important."

But another obvious reason for Mercedes' qualms about the change is that the stiffer low-profile tires are easier for the aerodynamicists and designers to work with.

"So if you were the FIA and FOM and wanting the grid to compress up, having tires that don't interfere so much with the aero is a good thing," said Allison.

"But it's a big opportunity for us to see whether we can actually stretch our heels instead. I guess time will tell whether that plays out or not."

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