Throughout the opening run of Wednesday’s check session on the Yas Marina Circuit, wheel covers have been fitted to the rear wheels of Lando Norris’s McLaren automotive that featured LED lights.
Norris accomplished just one flying lap utilizing the LED gentle wheel covers earlier than returning to the pits, after which they have been eliminated for his subsequent operating.
It nonetheless served as a style of future expertise that might be launched to the sequence sooner or later. The lights might doubtlessly be used both for staff advertising and marketing functions or to offer data reminiscent of automotive place.
“There was an concept to place some LEDs into the wheel covers, to make use of these wheel covers additionally for advertising and marketing functions, which means you’ll be able to show any form of message,” Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola instructed Autosport in Abu Dhabi.
“However clearly you must check them, as a result of the wheel covers are additionally a component that might unbalance the tyre.
“It’s actually vital that the tyre is correctly balanced, in any other case they begin to have vibrations.”
Isola added: “Once you match this [LED light] gadget and the gadget is working, you are able to do no matter you need.
“You possibly can show the place, you’ll be able to show logos, you’ll be able to show the lap time in qualifying or one thing like that. There are lots of potentialities.
“You will have the expertise, so it’s simple to programme what you wish to show.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M Mule
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Wheel covers will return to F1 subsequent yr as a part of the overhauled technical rules, prompting groups to trial them on their modified mule automobiles in the course of the Abu Dhabi check operating.
Groups have been permitted to make use of Pirelli’s new 18-inch tyres in the course of the check on their mule automobiles, giving them an opportunity to select up some information forward of their introduction subsequent yr.
The extra wheel bodywork, which additionally features a deflector excessive of the entrance wheels, is meant to cut back the wake produced by the wheels as they rotate.
Isola defined that revisions have been required for the preliminary wheel cowl designs for the 18-inch tyres to make sure they remained steadiness, and that pit crews might simply take away the tyres from the automotive.
“Subsequent yr the edges might be commonplace for everyone, sensors might be commonplace and rim covers might be commonplace,” Isola stated.
“The primary model of the rim cowl was very near the rim, and we had two issues. One was for the mechanics within the pit stops, as a result of they should put their fingers in and take the tyres off, and with the wheel cowl it was not doable, in order that they needed to modify it.
“The second was we couldn’t add the balanced weight on the skin. That’s why if you happen to see the newest model of the wheel cowl, there’s a form that’s protecting the rim, however then you have got a step nearer to the rim that’s helpful for the mechanics to take the tyre and for us to steadiness the load.
“With this ultimate model, we will steadiness the tyre when it’s fitted with the wheel and the wheel cowl. In any other case, if you happen to add the wheel cowl after balancing, it may be an issue.”