Pirelli and Ferrari put next season's bigger F1 tires to the test
Over the past few years, the drama has slowly been seeping out of Formula 1. Screaming V8s have given way to a Mercedes-dominated era of droning turbo motors where drivers proceed around Hermann Tilke-designed tracks in roughly the same order they started. In an attempt to liven things up, next year will see sweeping changes to F1 design regulations, one of which was put to the test by Sebastian Vettel earlier this week.
Trainspotters will notice the Pirellis attached to Vettel's modified SF15-T are much, much wider than normal. In an attempt to make cars faster and tougher to drive, the tires are 25 percent wider than this year's rubber. The car being used for testing was also fitted with a new rear wing in line with next year's regulations.
Vettel used Ferrari's Fiorano test-track to log 120 laps with intermediate and full-wet tires fitted, and HAAS driver Esteban Gutierrez also logged laps on a wet track – presumably in an attempt to see how they handle going much, much slower than the rest of the field.
Pirelli will now head to Mugello, working with Red Bull Racing to test next year's slicks during the mid-season break.
Along with the broader rubber, next year's F1 cars will be fitted with more aggressive aerodynamics packages. On top of the extra downforce that the bigger, more dramatic wings provide, Formula 1 Strategy Group is hoping they'll make the cars look more exciting.
The 2016 F1 season continues on August 28 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Predictably, Lewis Hamilton leads the driver's championship, with his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg sitting in second place.