Lotus backs shift to low-profile tyres to boost F1 'wow' factor
Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi believes low-profile tyres - as tested by his team at Silverstone last week - will help Formula One appeal to new and younger audiences.
Lotus tested its 2014 car on 18-inch wheels and low-profile tyres at Silverstone, as Pirelli aimed to get feedback on a potential new look for F1. Pirelli would be willing to produce the tyres as early as 2016 if they receive support from the sport and are keen to have even bigger rims as large as 20 inches.
"Regarding the tyres, they are important not only for the performance of the car but also how the cars look," Gastaldi said. "I think that fans and especially kids want to look at an F1 car and say 'wow', it looks amazing. While it is important for us to have a technical identification with the automotive industry there does need to be certain aspects that stand out more as well, too. So maybe even larger sizes are the answer?
"It remains to be seen what the FIA will decide upon for the future but we were happy to help Pirelli with the first steps in the process. We are all racers at Enstone and we care about the future of the sport deeply."
However, Lotus technical director Nick Chester said teams would need at least a year of wind tunnel testing to get their heads around the bigger wheels.
"Having 18-inch tyres would have a big impact on design. We would want to be testing in the wind tunnel for at least a year ahead of their introduction. The ride height and suspension packages would have to be changed and the tyre profile itself would be very different. It would be an interesting challenge."