The four-time World Champion will be driving on the new tyres all day today (Monday 1 August) before Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez takes over the car on Tuesday 2 August (Haas F1 uses Ferrari engines). Both drivers will be trialling wet tyres on an artificially dampened track.
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The new tyres mark a big change for F1: they are 25% wider than the current rubber and, along with a series of aerodynamic changes, are being introduced to make F1 faster.
The target is a lap time two seconds faster than today’s cars.
The comparable figures illustrate how much wider the new tyres are:
- Front tyres – 245-section (2016), 305-section (2017)
- Rear tyres – 325-section (2016), 405-section (2017)
The wheel size, however, remains at 13 inches, meaning F1 cars retain their ultra-deep sidewalls. Even a base-spec Ford Fiesta has bigger wheels than a modern F1 car.
Other teams will test the new 2017 tyres as the 2016 F1 season progresses: Red Bull Racing will be the first to try out the new slick tyres, with AMG-Mercedes also getting their hands on the tyres in September.