With such feats of mathematical and mechanical engineering evident in all Formula 1 cars, from the nose to the exhaust, it is little surprise that rubber companies have invested an equally higher amount of believed into the tyres as effectively.
They are, after all, a race car’s largest single performance variable.
The tyres on race cars are related to these of road automobiles in name and small else. Road tyres are made to last for thousands of miles, with strength and durability key elements. Racing tyres, on the other hand, use a lot softer compounds in order to offer you the best feasible grip against the racetrack. However, it is simply because of this that they break down very quickly, lasting only 125 miles at the very most.
Race tyres are meant to be light and powerful, maximising the speed of the car by not weighing it down. They also need to withstand a lot greater downward force than the typical road tyre – often up to a tonne – and as a outcome, are made differently, utilising a weave of nylon and polyester as opposed to the road tyres’ steel-belted radial piles.
“Slicks” have been employed from the 1960s, till a rule came into force in 1998 banning them. Developers located that in possessing “slick” tyres (i.e. ones with no tread on whatsoever) for use in dry climate, the surface region was maximised and a lot more of the tyre would be touching the road, for that reason enabling drivers to take corners a lot faster.
The rule in 1998 was brought in to improve the spectacle of Formula 1, by slowing down the speed in which drivers took the corners. Nonetheless, the rule was revoked in 2009 when the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) opted to limit aerodynamics as opposed to tread.
Lastly, just as imporatnt as the tyres themselves is what goes into them. To minimise variations in tyre stress with temperature (which can influence the overall performance of the automobile greatly), a nitrogen-rich air mixture is utilized. Not only does this minimise fluctuations in tyre pressure, it also retains the stress a lot longer than regular air would.