Wurz blasts 18-inch wheels that 'bring nothing to drivers'


GPDA chairman Alex Wurz has criticized F1's introduction from 2021 of 18-inch wheels, insisting the change was done only for marketing reasons and "brings nothing to drivers".

Formula 1 will reveal at the end of this month its 2021 regulations, but one transition that has already been agreed upon by all parties is a switch from 13 to 18-inch wheels, a change promoted by Pirelli, the sport's exclusive tyre supplier.

The new-spec wheel and tyres were tested for the first time last month at Paul Ricard by Renault, with reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin raking up the miles on board a mule car shod with F1's future low profile tyres.

While Wurz understands the reasons for the switch, the former F1 racer insists the change is nothing more than a commercial decision which will add no real value to a driver's task behind the wheel and will only increase the weight of F1's already heavy machines.

"We have commercial decisions that are leading to imbalances," contended Wurz, speaking to Germany's Motorsport-Magazin.

"Like the 18-inch wheels that are to come. Drivers aren't happy because they bring 25 to 27 kilos just for the sake of a commercial benefit. They bring nothing to the driver.

"They may be a bit simpler for aerodynamics, but that argument doesn't count. They are much heavier. The only advantage is the marketing."

Indeed, the 18-inch profile follows a trend in the automobile industry and enhances a car's aesthetics.

But Wurz says that style alone without thrilling races won't prove to be a selling point for F1.

"I was called 'Mr Halo' when many journalists and fans predicted that when the Halo arrived, Formula 1 would be is dead," said the Austrian.

"But we've seen that it has saved a few drivers' and ratings haven't suffered. We've adjusted to it.

"I'm extremely focused on design," added Wurz.

"But whether there is a 19-inch or a 13-inch tyre on a car, if a car is stylishly designed and the races are thrilling, it's not the item that sells."

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