Can a set of tires from F1 turn your ordinary street car into a high-performance machine? The folks at Driven Media decided to test this idea and fit a set of F1 tires onto their Caterham 270R. So, can tires from F1 cars improve the performance of a capable street car, let’s find out?
If you are a fan of Formula One then you will be very familiar with the sport’s obsession with tires. Pirelli is the only tire supplier in F1 at the moment and it is one of the few components that all F1 teams have. F1 teams put millions of dollars, and countless hours of work, into the development of their cars, but as with street cars, all of this engineering is delivered to the pavement via tires.
F1 teams spend a lot of time adjusting the temperature of the tires to ensure the optimal level of grip so their car can perform on the track. These finicky tires are warmed with a tire blanket before use so the car has a firm grip on the off track after a pit stop. Just like an F1 car, this tire is not designed for ordinary road use as it is a very specialized tool for one task.
So how does a set of F1 soft tires perform at Caterham under light track use with road tests to follow. Well, as the folks at Driven Media predict, they can’t get tires warm enough to achieve optimal grip. These Pirelli tires are designed to handle extreme temperatures while on the track meaning they are not optimized for normal driving temperatures. Even when the Caterham is driven on the track, the featherweight track car is not able to apply enough force to the tires to warm them up.
While the tires aren’t great for performance, they do make the Caterham 270R look like a mini F1 car. So F1 tires may not improve the performance of your car, but they will make it look cool.