D he Formula 1 will change dramatically in 2017. The cars are getting wider, the aerodynamics are being fundamentally turned inside out. The front wing is cast in a delta shape, the rear wing sits lower. Both grow in breadth. Regarding the shape and arrangement of the bargeboards in front of the side pods, the regulations allow great freedom. And of course the tires are getting wider.
Test conclusion in Abu Dhabi
Pirelli's 2017 generation grows by around 25 percent in the contact area. The Italians widen the front tire by six centimeters from 245 to 305 millimeters. You even stretch the rear tire by eight centimeters. In the coming year it will be 405 instead of 325 millimeters wide. Pirelli continues to use rubber on 13-inch rims. At the season finale in Abu Dhabi, the tire supplier presented all tire compounds for 2017. For the first time, the tires were shown with the respective colors on the flank. During the test drives they were still unmarked. There are five dry mixes: ultrasoft, supersoft, soft, medium and hard.
The tire diameter increases from 660 to 670 millimeters. The new intermediate has a diameter of 675, the rain tire 680 millimeters. Pirelli adapts the profile and surface of the two tires for light to medium (intermediate) and heavy rain.
Pirelli has not yet determined the final rubber formulation for 2017. However, the test program on the racetrack has been completed. After the season finale, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes completed 331 laps or 1,839 kilometers on the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. For the first time, the three teams were on the road together. According to Pirelli, they tested 96 different prototypes alone. Now the supplier evaluates all the data obtained from over 20 test days in order to then add the new construction and mixture. Pirelli's main goal is to reduce wear and tear and better protect the tires from overheating. This should make it easier for drivers to be able to follow other cars for longer without ruining their tires, which in turn should encourage overtaking.
12,000 test kilometers for new tires
In total, the three top teams have driven around 12,000 kilometers since August. The races took place in Mugello, Fiorano, Barcelona, Paul Ricard and Abu Dhabi. For the test drives, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull tried to adapt their 2015 racing cars to the expected downforce for the coming year. It is said that the new generation of racing cars should generate around 20 percent more downforce and that lap times should drop by around three seconds compared to 2016. The so-called mule cars of the three racing teams did not come close to the predicted downforce values. One speaks of a gain in downforce of only a few percentage points.
Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes each completed six test days with dry tires on behalf of Pirelli. They competed in the wet for two days each to try out the rain tires. In the past, you have been particularly criticized by drivers. They complained that the full wet would not displace enough water, which leads to aquaplaning. Most recently, the drivers criticized the rainwear after the Brazilian GP.
At the end of February, all teams screwed the wider tires onto the new cars for the first time. In our photo show we give a foretaste of the new, broad Formula 1.