F1 cars: all about tires

One of the most important components of a Formula 1 car’s overall performance is tires: if well-chosen, they permit the driver and the team to win. Lots of people talk about how to build a Formula 1 car, but is perhaps less known to the general public than the technological and constructive aspect behind the tires.

As a reference, we have obviously taken Pirelli tires, the only tire supplier in F1.

For every motor sports the role of tires is decisive and, at a high level, they can really make the difference. In Formula 1 the importance of tires is even higher because of the particular regulations as well as for the particular technical setting of the cars.

Components of a tire

To better explain the production process, as we have said, we turned to Pirelli tires, the largest Italian tire manufacturer for private cars. Despite the commitment Pirelli is experiencing these days for future IPO listing; sources about Pirelli IPO are here, on the FT (Pirelli tyres will race to market with new hands at the wheel) and on WardsAuto (Pirelli to decide on IPO terms based on prospectus), the responses have been completed.

The construction of a tire can only consists of two stages: the construction of the rubber part, the tread compound and the sides, and the construction of the base structure, a real “rubber frame”.

The rubber part of the tire, both the tread in contact with the ground and the material to the sides, as well as the one for the canvases, is a blend of three main components: rubber, plasticizers, and carbon black. The percentages are approximately 30% each, but the exact value depends on the type of mix needed to obtain. Obviously, the precise percentage is unknown, since it is an industrial secret. The remaining approximately 10% is made of minerals, such as silica and other binding products.

Natural rubber is a hydrocarbon, a compound of hydrogen and carbon atoms, just like oil and its derivatives. Molecular composition, that is, the number and layout of the atoms forming the molecule, differs for each hydrocarbon.

It is also formed of long chains (polymer, natural in this case) of thousands of isoprene molecules, an unsaturated hydrocarbon, whose molecular structure is also called methyl butadiene.