Friday, May 30, 2008

Slick tyres: Why they aren’t used in Formula One

Between 1971 and 1997, Formula One cars used to race on slick tyres – that is, tyres with no tread at all. This lack of tread gave the maximum surface area of rubber on the road, thereby maximising dry weather grip. Most other racing categories still use slick tyres but, since 1998, they’ve been outlawed in Formula One and replaced by the regulatory grooved tyre. The governing body made this change purely to limit the performance of the cars, for reasons of safety. Tyre engineers estimate that slick tyres would make Formula One cars around 3 seconds per lap faster than they currently are.

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