Michel: Tyre Switch Made in “Smartest Way Possible”

F2 CEO discusses the Championship’s switch to 18-inch compounds in 2020.

The intensive testing programme of the 2020 18-inch tyres continued in Abu Dhabi, and Formula 2 CEO Bruno Michel says the impact of making the switch to the larger rims a year ahead of Formula 1 cannot be understated.

The F2 development car enjoyed an hour-long run out at lunchtime on the Friday and Saturday of post-season testing, and remained out in Yas Marina to continue work the following week.  The decision to switch to the new Pirelli’s next season was announced back in May and the testing programme is now reaching the latter stages.

Talking on the F2: The Road to F1 podcast, Michel discussed the role that the Championship can play for F1, as a proving ground not just for drivers, but also for regulations, machinery and technology.

“It is going to be very interesting, and of course, it is going to be a very different look for the car,” he explained. “We are happy to do it a year ahead of Formula 1, because number one, it helps the drivers to get ready for Formula 1, and number two, in terms of our image, it is quite important to show that not only are we a ladder for the drivers, but we do things that can be implemented in F1 later on.

“It was a decision that we took together with Pirelli when we heard that Formula 1 was going to do it. Pirelli were quite interested because it helps them to prepare for F1. We have done a very important development programme with them.”

While most of the 18-inch tyre tests have been behind-closed-doors, motor racing fans were able to get a glimpse of the new rubber in action in Round 10, when Jean Alesi took the development car on a tour of the Monza Eni Circuit, in Italy.

While it remains too early to know what to expect for sure, testing has been promising, and the move should further increase the competitiveness of an already tightly fought Championship.

What I can say, is that it is going to be a completely different car in terms of behaviour,” Michel continued. “That is good because the engineers are going to have to work again and will not be in a routine system, like they have for the last two years. It is always good to try something new.

“We have tried to do it in the smartest way possible, because costs are very important in Formula 2 and I wanted to make sure that the upgrade kits that we are going to give to the teams were not going to be too high [in cost]. That was another thing that was very important for us to achieve.

“We will be able to deliver the full upgrade kit, including the new tyres, for the first test in Bahrain, at the beginning of March.”

You can listen to the full podcast with Michel HERE, or via your favourite podcast app.