Windtunnel tyres: Pirelli's secret weapon
Since re-entering Formula 1 as its sole tyre supplier this year, Pirelli has heavily embraced the idea of windtunnel testing of its products. As Dieter Rencken explains, the Italian manufacturer is driving development in a number of innovative ways
Pirelli already had multiple Formula 1 world titles from the 1950s and grand prix wins as recently as 1991 to its name when it decided to join the championship as its sole tyre supplier for 2011. In the intervening period it had also achieved great success in world rallying, sportscars, touring cars and superbikes, in addition to serving a year as GP3's rubber partner in 2010. Stepping back up to the big league would surely be easy, even if in-season testing was banned...
However, the rate of development in F1 is ferocious – particularly since the early 1990s – and none of the above categories really bear any resemblance to grand prix racing either, thanks to being devoid of aerodynamics as its primary performance driver, or even of having open wheels.
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