Can a set of tires from an F1 turn your normal street car into a high-performance machine? The guys at Driven Media decided to put this idea to the test and fit a set of F1 tires onto their Caterham 270R. So, can tires from an F1 car improve the performance of a track-capable road car, let’s find out?
If you’re a fan of Formula One then you’ll be very familiar with the sports obsession with tires. Pirelli is the sole supplier of tires in F1 at the moment and it's one of the few components that all F1 teams share. F1 teams pour millions of dollars, and countless man-hours, into the development of their car, but much like road cars, this engineering is all sent to the pavement via the tires.
F1 teams spend a great deal of time managing tire temperatures to ensure the optimal levels of grip so their car can perform on the track. These finicky tires are warmed with tire blankets before use so that the car has a strong level of grip as it heads out the track after a pit stop. Much like an F1 car, these tires are not designed for normal road use as they are highly specialized tools for a single task.
So how does a set of F1 soft tires perform on a Caterham under light track use with a road test to follow. Well, much like the guys at Driven Media predicted, they couldn’t get the tires warm enough to achieve optimal grip. These Pirelli tires are designed to handle extreme temperatures while on track which means they aren’t optimized for normal driving temps. Even when the Caterham was driven around on track the featherweight track car wasn’t able to put enough force on to the tires to heat them.
Although the tires weren’t exactly good for performance, they did make the Caterham 270R look like a miniature F1 car. So, F1 tires may not improve the performance of your car, but they will make it look cool.