Formula One teams will once again test slick tyres on their cars in April, a repeat of the tests carried out by all teams in December to allow Bridgestone to assess them on a modern F1 machine. Slicks haven’t been used in the sport since 1998 when the FIA decided to make the cars run on grooved tyres in a bid to reduce cornering speeds. Since then however, aerodynamic limitations have been imposed which in theory should do this and the result being a possible return to smooth rubber.
The slicks will be handed out to teams at the big test in Barcelona, scheduled to begin on April 14th after the third round in Bahrain. It has been mooted that the change in tyres could happen for the 2009 season, but obviously Bridgestone, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier, will need information on how they work in a variety of conditions before pressing ahead with the move. The FIA have been a bit vague on the issue, merely stating that they were considering it.
We are looking to a possible bigger [tyre] change for next season, and that is why we will be evaluating our latest slick development tyre when we next test in April. Tetsuro Kobayashi, Bridgestone Technical Manager.
I for one hope Formula One returns to slick tyres. Seeing the most prestigious motor series in the world running around tracks on grooved boots just suggests that the FIA couldn’t be bothered to find a better solution. Of course, since then better proposals have been put forward to help the organisation work towards the aim of controlling the escalating speeds. Whether or not this is needed is another debate, but hopefully the powers-that-be will see the light and let the slicks comeback.
Image courtesy of Honda.