First look: McLaren & Sainz testing 18 inch 2021 wheels

During the Monza weekend this year, Pirelli revealed their new F1 18″ wheels – albeit on an F2 car driven by Jean Alesi.

Pirelli then started its testing programme with F1’s 18-inch wheels at Paul Ricard in September with a mule car provided by the Renault team, McLaren in November (today) then Mercedes next month in December.

Below is one of the first images to be released of the McLaren car, driven by Carlos Sainz, with the new F1 Pirelli 18″ rubber.

Pirelli’s Mario Isola confirmed during the Canadian GP that 2020 will see further testing and evaluation of the 18 inch tyre for “those who wish to test them”. Apparently Isola claims that for 2019 only the Renault, McLaren and Mercedes teams offered to assist with testing.

“I’m not surprised that more teams aren’t worried about testing this year as we have twenty five days of testing next year.” says Isola

“I’m sure we’ll have seven or eight teams will take part in this test campaign.” 

“The prototypes we test later this year in September, October, November are different from the final version of the tyre. We have a lot to do in the one year we have with the 18 inch tyres and I don’t believe there is any real advantage for the three teams who will test them in 2019. Obviously, they believe they’ll have an advantage, otherwise they wouldn’t test. But I don’t think it’s a big advantage.” concludes the Pirelli boss.

In the image of the McLaren we can also see for the first time the Woking car without it’s Petrobras sponsorship that was recently dissolved. The logos will reappear on the car for the Interlagos race next on the calendar.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “We would like to thank Petrobras for their partnership and support.

“We have great respect for their technical and scientific capabilities, and there is no doubt the company’s technicians have made substantial progress in the time we have been working together. We wish everyone at Petrobras every success and hope to see them back in the sport again in the future.”

Petrobras, which is 64% owned by the Brazilian government, made clear that the decision to end the deal had nothing to do with results on track.

“We recognise the importance of McLaren in global motorsport and we are very satisfied with the results delivered during the two years of our partnership,” said its CEO Roberto Castello Branco.

“The project allowed Petrobras to develop high-technology gasoline and lubricants through research with new raw materials and tests performed in extreme conditions.

“The technological development will be used in lubricant and fuel products. We see in McLaren a commitment to innovation and also the possibility of future partnerships.”

Honda has also noticed the lower Ferrari speed on the straights compared to his own engine in the USA, but technical director Toyoharu Tanabe does not go as far as his driver Max Verstappen, who accused Ferrari of cheating after the race. He wants to wait for more races to get a clear picture.

Ferrari followed the lead in the Austin race: Charles Leclerc was more than 50 seconds behind at the finish. The Scuderia explains……. READ MORE