The Pirelli compounds used in F1 could be mounted on a road car, but would this make the car more performing?
Formula 1 in 2022 is going through a total technological revolution. The new ground-effect cars were equipped with the new 18-inch Pirelli compounds. In the video below you will observe the grip of the 13-inch compounds on a Caterham Seven, a car produced by the English house Caterham Cars starting from 1973 as an evolution of the Lotus Seven.
Pirelli compounds have been great protagonists in the history of Formula 1. Today the Italian company is the exclusive supplier of tires in the top category of Motorsport. The single-seaters, developed according to the new regulation, which reintroduces the ground effect, have brought about the epochal transition to 18-inch inflatable boats. Wing cars were conceived as cars less sensitive to aerodynamic turbulence in the wake. Furthermore, the introduction of the new compound has brought obvious advantages in the driveability of the vehicle.
The project involved Pirelli technicians in the creation of all the innovative elements of the tire, from the profiles to the structure of the compounds. Compared to the 13-inch, the new tires have a wider usable window, limiting overheating. In the first seasonal outings, the difference with respect to the previous compounds was evident also in terms of degradation.
F1 compounds on a Caterham
The work carried out by the Italian technicians has led to the use of a compound that deforms less and disturbs the aerodynamics less. All elements that have helped the circus to increase the show in duels. The drivers had to adapt to a new way of driving. Compounds are known to be a key factor in handling and this has often changed the fate of the world championships.
The drivers must be good at interpreting the characteristics of the tires in the best possible way, also based on the track. There are drivers who are able to make compounds last longer than others and this is mostly achieved with non-aggressive driving. The new Pirelli tires are much higher, this means that precision plays an essential role when it comes to entering corners cleanly, avoiding blockages. On the aesthetic level the old 13-inch tires made the car in the video almost an F1 car aesthetically.
The guys from Driven Media wanted to test themselves, starting from the premise that you need to have excellent skills to perform on F1 compounds. As you will see in the video below the two youngsters wanted to test their Caterham 270R with a set of F1 tires in everyday life. But has the performance, designed for track use, improved on city streets? After many hours of work, the young people went shopping behind the wheel of the British car.
The compounds designed for F1 cars are heated with electric blankets before use on the track. This is essential to guarantee the grip of the car when exiting the pit lane for the driver. For this reason, the protagonists of the film were unable to heat the compounds properly, despite the fact that after a stop at McDonald’s we mounted the covers to keep the compounds warm. This has resulted in a lack of ideal grip, also because Pirelli tires are designed for track temperatures and for F1 single-seaters.