Video: First look at F1’s 18-inch tyres in action

Pirelli has offered the first glimpse of what its new 18-inch Formula 1 tyres will look like in action, as testing of the rubber began at Paul Ricard in France on Thursday.

Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin has been drafted in for the two-day test, which is taking place in a modified RS18 that has been developed to simulate the downforce levels that are expected for the 2021 rules.

Speaking ahead of the test, Sirotkin said: “It will be something, new, something interesting and we are all very excited about it.”

F1 is moving to the 18-inch tyres in 2021, while F2 is set to move across next year – with former grand prix driver Jean Alesi having given a demonstration to those new dimension tyres at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.

Pirelli is still finalising its 2020 F1 rubber but once that is sorted, then its focus will switch entirely to the 18-inch work.

This year, three teams are developing mule cars to help with the 18-inch development efforts. Following Renault’s test this week, McLaren will run at Paul Ricard in October while Mercedes will run in December.

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