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Pirelli wrap up 18-inch tyre development

Pirelli have concluded their 18-inch tyre development programme ahead of the introduction of bigger wheels in 2022.

Pirelli have concluded their 2021 tyre testing programme for the 18-inch tyres, ahead of their introduction next season. Formula 1 moves from the current 13-inch wheels and tyres to 18-inch for the 2022 season, as part of the technical revolution taking place at the end of this year. It's resulted in an extensive testing programme for Pirelli as the considerations for the tyre manufacturers have been numerous. A blank-sheet design, Pirelli engineers have had to think about every element of the tyre through an intensive research and development programme. Throughout 2021, there were 28 days of track testing in total. There were also another eight days of testing at the end of 2019, and the start of 2020, before the programme was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every team, apart from Williams, carried out at least one test on behalf of Pirelli, with the Grove-based team the outlier due to being unable to produce a mule car suitable for use with the bigger wheels. However, all data gathered at each and every test was shared amongst the teams. Alpine and reserve driver Daniil Kvyat carried out the last of the tests, with the Russian driver heading to Paul Ricard in the south of France for specific Intermediate tyre testing on an artificially soaked circuit. "With this latest wet test we finally close our development schedule for the new 18-inch tyres," said Pirelli's Mario Isola at the conclusion of the test. "Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we had to revise our test programme entirely, cancelling on-track testing to concentrate on simulation as well as virtual development and modelling. "This system of virtual screening helped us optimise the number of physical prototypes produced and return to on-track testing for 28 days throughout 2021. "We started off the development process with the profile, before moving onto the base construction, and finally homing in on the five compounds that we will homologate for next year. "The results obtained up to now have been arrived at with the input of the drivers currently competing in the championship, a vital aspect for us, albeit using mule cars. "Next year, we will still have some test days at our disposal, which will allow us to fine-tune the 2022 tyre with the new cars if needed. "Once the specification has been validated by the FIA, the drivers will have the chance to try out the definitive 18-inch tyres at the test after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although we will have to wait for next year's pre-season tests to see these tyres in action on the 2022 cars for the first time."

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