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Thread: F1 to get low-profile rubber?

  1. #1
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    F1 to get low-profile rubber?

    Read some interesting speculation in a motoring mag today. It's probably well-known that F1 is finding itself in a bit of a pickle with Bridgestone pulling out at the end of the season, but what will happen in 2011?

    Apparently, Michelin's been approached to possibly become a supplier again. Michelin's up for it, but only if competition between suppliers will be supported and encouraged, and only if F1 moves from the current 13-inch high-profiles to 18-inch (inner?) ones. I'm not too sure what's meant with the inner bit, but sounds good to me so far. From the sound of things, Pirelli's keen to become a supplier as well, but 13-inch rubber isn't on the top of their list either...

    The other possibility is that Bernie might resurrect his IRTS (International Race Tyre Services) company to supply still-13-inch Avon tyres to the entire field. This would suit the budget teams apparently as it means less development costs adapting to Avons than it would in adapting to 18-inch tyres (different braking, steering and suspension systems, possibly more).

    I'm hoping that the change in tyres happen. The magazine in question even mentioned that the trucks delivering F1 tyres are fitted with lower profile tyres than F1 currently use.
    Surely it's about time F1's tyre format catches up with the rest of the racing world (even the non-racing world for that matter)?

    Whatever will be decided, the teams are according to the mag getting antsy to get an official decision since they want to start designing for 2011 a.s.a.p.

    Anyone who still follows F1 have any thoughts on this?
    Last edited by Kooper; 05-24-2010 at 02:28 PM.

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    F1 car suspensions are highly dependant on tire sidewall compliance; chassis design and performance would be radically different with low-profile rubber. I can't imagine the teams accepting the extraordinary costs of total re-design. Whomever the tire supplier will be, they'll be making tires to F1 manufacturers specs, not F1 building cars to (new) spec tires.
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    Here is a very interesting article in spanish explaining the problem.

    La F.1 en la encrucijada: ¿13 o 18 pulgadas? | Curvas enlazadas

    Basically, the bumps are absorbed by the tyres so lowering the profile would reduce the absortion capacity of the car.
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    I don't see F1 switching to low profile tires. It would mean such a radical change in the design of the cars that everyone would be back to square one again. Far more drastic than the changes required for fuel to last the whole race.
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    Considering how these days they are regularly running out of brakes towards the ends of races where there is a lot of heavy braking an increase in wheel diameter i would see as beneficial but not to the extent of 18 inches, probably more like 15 (to still allow some tyre compliance in a larger profile).

    This could either be in the way of more airflow/cooling for the existing sized brakes or for slightly larger units better suited to spreading the heat and thus lasting a whole race.

    Even with 15 inch and large profile there would still be a huge amount of suspension reworking so as CSL + Ferrer both pointed out its more likely we'll be seeing 13's with fat tyres for sometime yet whoever ends up as the supplier.

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    The reason why Michelin wants this is to make the sport easier to access for other tire manufacturers. Many of them make 18 inch tires for endurance racing and it would it take a lot less effort to adopt those for F1 than to design 13 inch tires from scratch, which then can only be used in F1. For Michelin the point of racing really is to show what they are worth on the track and being sole supplier really does not help. They can provide the teams with square tires and still win every race. Unfortunately this early demand from Michelin has not been well received and they have been forced to tone it down to be even considered. I do see this happening in the future because for reasons already mentioned above, running 13 inch just makes no sense anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSOWNER View Post
    Considering how these days they are regularly running out of brakes towards the ends of races where there is a lot of heavy braking an increase in wheel diameter i would see as beneficial
    Formula One is still a class where a car (mostly) only needs to "do enough" to get to the end of a race. Letting them use larger brakes won't per-se improve the situation. They'll just end up braking LOTS harder, putting more stresses in causing about the same level of fragility as is accepted now It's the nature of the beast and the problem of unintended consequences..... MORE BRAKING means higher entry speed, which means higher contact speeds when brakes DO fail Not to mention stresses on rubber and other components.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wouter Melissen View Post
    and they have been forced to tone it down to be even considered. I do see this happening in the future because for reasons already mentioned above, running 13 inch just makes no sense anymore.
    I'm with rsowner et al, the costs to redesign ( and harder to learn new design boundaries ) is excessive and in a time of wishing to reduce costs not one I think F1 can face.
    What I fear would be a "solution" that they make the tracks smoother ( by only racing on the smooth/new/boring ones ) and kerbs "softer" so that lower profile tyres and current suspension geometry coudl be a compromse for a few seasons 'Course then we'd be stuck with only racing on borign tracks backed by Bernie's desires for more cash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    I'm with rsowner et al, the costs to redesign ( and harder to learn new design boundaries ) is excessive and in a time of wishing to reduce costs not one I think F1 can face.
    What I fear would be a "solution" that they make the tracks smoother ( by only racing on the smooth/new/boring ones ) and kerbs "softer" so that lower profile tyres and current suspension geometry coudl be a compromse for a few seasons 'Course then we'd be stuck with only racing on borign tracks backed by Bernie's desires for more cash
    Other racing cars can run on 18 inch rubber without problems. If the teams have enough time, they can easily incorporate this into their new designs. I think it is vital that they have enough time but other than that it is not a serious problem.
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    I think Wouter, when you look at it, F1 is still WAY ahead of the rest of the motorsport industry and have much of their focus on the aero packaging. Asking them to switch expertise to suspension and chassis again may be costly. New engineers needed, new computer software, getting rid of "old" engineers will all be expensive.
    This is F1 where the smallest difference makes a HUGE impact.
    For example look at Red Bull ... they've done somethgin "smart" with suspension to get their aero package so good. NOBODY seems to understand how or why yet ... and many have been diverted into a cul-de-sac with the McLaren air vent. WHY ? Because they all ahve aeor expertise and computer focus and so try to find solutiosn there.
    Finding the extra 1/10th second improvement solution in all the other areas wil ahve to be re-learnt - all be it could happen quickly ( a season ) but expensively.
    I do however think it is a "serious" problem as it is an expense that will possibly ensure F1 goes backwards at an even greater rate of knots in the eyes of supporters, certainly if my suggestion that the only tracks they could safely race on would be the new ones then I for one will not be watching. FF1600 at Kyalmi is more interesting and enjoyable than F1 at Dubhai.
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    The costs involved could possibly be somewhat high, but maybe it's a step in the right direction?
    I'm taking a guess here, but surely the change to lower profile rubber would place the focus more towards mechanical grip rather than aerodynamics. Maybe overtaking would be a welcome side-effect of doing the transition (I can always hope).

    It'll have to happen sooner or later, 13" can only be the norm for so long. They might as well change now and get it over with, as the costs of doing so is unlikely to go down in the foreseeable future.

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    I think it can only be positive, even in a way of returning F1 developed technology to road cars. Wheels, tires and suspension technology could find and easer way of getting in road cars.
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    Don't see how kooper, the drive will always be aero for as long as we allow aero devices.
    My point was that because of the focus and investment in wind tunnels - and the expense of running it once built - means they're set up to do that. I dont' see that going away long term, just a shift to have to buy in expensive expertise for a couple of seasons, fanny about with bad ideas for a while and then it will be back to aero
    Of course all good news for those who want to see standard chassis, engine etc etc in F1 like. Me ? No way I want to see innovation and to be fair it is going to be good to see some time spent on trying to work new wheel configuration best, but there will be crap around too and that in all likelihood will mean a team domination who cracks a major nut and the rest try to play catch up

    Ideal world ? Freedom on tyres and wheels only set to a maximum contact patch size. Freedom on suspension within the limits of no real time computer control and safety. Mandate the maximum amount of air fuel mix that can be injested/squirted per unit ( time or inlet cycle x cylinders ), so old configurations can be valid again. Set the MAXIMUM outer dimensions of the car - wheel track, wheelbase, body width, body length with simple no-go areas near wheels and suspension - we want it to stay LOOKING like it's an open -wheeler formula

    All these can initially match the current cars, so in reality no need to change anything to compete ... but let teams decide themselves whether engine, chassis, suspension or tyres are the way to go for advantage. Will bring back racing as cars will start to be better in different places and tracks

    Changing one thing at a time won't bring real innovation (imo) as all it will means is everyone concentrates in the same area, comes up with pretty much the same solutions and we get back to same boring .. but slightly different cars.

    I'm off to see bikes racing .... MUCH better than F1 can ever hope to achieve again
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    I'm off to see bikes racing .... MUCH better than F1 can ever hope to achieve again
    I hear you there.

    It's a sad state of affairs as on the one hand I'm not too bothered with F1 any more, but on the other I'd like to get interested in it again as it's F1.

    Whatever is decided, I just hope the end-result is more proper F1.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    Ideal world ? Freedom on tyres and wheels only set to a maximum contact patch size. Freedom on suspension within the limits of no real time computer control and safety. Mandate the maximum amount of air fuel mix that can be injested/squirted per unit ( time or inlet cycle x cylinders ), so old configurations can be valid again. Set the MAXIMUM outer dimensions of the car - wheel track, wheelbase, body width, body length with simple no-go areas near wheels and suspension - we want it to stay LOOKING like it's an open -wheeler formula

    All these can initially match the current cars, so in reality no need to change anything to compete ... but let teams decide themselves whether engine, chassis, suspension or tyres are the way to go for advantage. Will bring back racing as cars will start to be better in different places and tracks

    Changing one thing at a time won't bring real innovation (imo) as all it will means is everyone concentrates in the same area, comes up with pretty much the same solutions and we get back to same boring .. but slightly different cars.
    As much as I like and agree with your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newspaper or periodical, it'll never happen because innovation and freedom just means that those with massive budgets keep out the smaller teams. Generally speaking anyway. That's not to say that the big budget teams aren't the ones in front at the moment anyway, but I'd say that a team like Force India wouldn't be the plucky up-and-comers they're almost looking like if there was more engineering freedom. Not to mention how much farther back the HRTs of the field would be..
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    When you go back to before "controls" then there were many more smaller teams and many more innovations

    With more freedom, maybe Force India would be running a Revetec engine rather than having to buy in to a V8 program somewhere ??
    Look at teams like Tyrrel who with a fraction of anyone elses budget tried and brought many innovations.

    But I should have added, I do think there IS a need to have a financial cap - or other penalty - on teams and their research budgets. THough recent financial hiccups is probably doing that without the need for regulations

    But if you cap the budget and then mandate the tyres, the engine configuration, the ECU and major aero devices then boring cars all start to perform and look the same So I think Bernie's leading it to it's own destruction.
    Last edited by Matra et Alpine; 05-25-2010 at 07:02 AM.
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