Sergey Sirotkin kick-starts Pirelli's 18-inch '21 tyre test programme

Sergey Sirotkin tests Pirelli's 18-inch tyres

Renault tester Sergey Sirotkin has commenced Pirelli’s long-term development programme ahead of Formula 1’s switch to 18-inch tyres in 2021.

As part of Formula 1’s regulatory overhaul in 2021 the championship will move from 13-inch rubber to 18-inch rubber.

Pirelli first evaluated the larger tyres with Lotus back in 2014, running a concept tyre, and it has committed to moving to the 18-inch wheels from 2021.

Formula 2 is making the switch a year early and Pirelli has already conducted several private tests with an adapted F2/18 machine on 2020-spec rubber.

Ex-F1 driver Jean Alesi carried out a demonstration run at Monza last weekend.

Sirotkin, who raced for Williams last year, is on track at French Grand Prix venue Paul Ricard today (Thursday) and will continue running on Friday, as Pirelli makes its first steps with the 2021-spec rubber.

McLaren will run at the same venue next month while Mercedes will carry out a third test in December.

Pirelli will use all 25 of its allocated test days in 2020 to carry out further 18-inch tyre evaluations.

Sirotkin is today sharing the track with Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon, who is running on 13-inch 2020 prototype rubber as Pirelli makes final assessments with next year’s prototypes.