Pirelli F1 Soft Tire

F1 News: Series to stick with 18″ wheels, but lower tire profile

There was talk of reducing the size of F1 wheels from 18-inches to 16-inches in 2026 as part of an overall weight reduction goal for the new cars.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

The weight of F1 wheels and tires increased significantly with the move from 13-inch wheels to 18-inch in 2022.

However, the sport has decided to continue with the 18-inch tire format, abandoning the previously considered shift to 16-inch tires.

The discussion around tire size, a crucial aspect of the sport’s technical framework, took center stage at a recent meeting of the technical advisory committee, which saw participation from team representatives and the FIA.

“We are close to the final version of the sizes,” Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola told Motorsport.com.

“Obviously when you design the wheel, you have to consider all the package, brakes, wheel, suspension, tire, so I believe we are close to the final sizes.”

“The discussion is between 16 and 18-inch tires. And our preference is to stay on 18-inch tires. And I believe that there are valid reasons to stay on 18-inch, with smaller tires, but still the same rim.

“That’s what we are discussing, just a bit smaller diameter of tire, a slightly lower profile and slightly narrower tire.”

“There is an element that is weight.

“And clearly that affects all the package, and also the wheels. The difference between  a wide 16 vs. a narrower 18 is not a lot. So the weight element is there, but not huge.” 

“But weight is not the only element. There is an element of performance. Because obviously if you were to go to 16-inch tires, much smaller, the risk of overheating is much higher. A smaller diameter means that you disperse the heat in a different way.

“And so there are many elements that if we wanted to design a tire that is in line with drivers’ expectations. For performance, the 18-inch tire is better than the 16.”


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