Milestones Technical F1 tyres to ‘slick’ in the Formula 1


The war tires became a duel between Goodyear and Firestone when, in 1970, Dunlop bid farewell to the Formula 1. The development of the tyres was in full swing and, since 1966, had been experimented with smooth tires, without any type of scratch that evacuate water in wet conditions, and, as a result, have a tread that lends to the load side or longitudinal.

despite the evidence, the quality of the tire was insufficient and its introduction into the competition was infeasible, but the potential advantages of the concept continued to fuel the research of the brands with a view to take advantage of a greater surface area of contact and rigidity of the top of the tread.

Kyalami, the appetizer of Montjuïc

In 1971, the season began in south Africa with the victory of Mario Andretti on his Lotus 72C and Firestone tires. But its rival Goodyear, which supplied Tyrrell, Mclaren and Brabham, began to mark the trend in terms of tires. In Kyalami was introduced by semi-slick, something as well as a pair of slicks, with a lined surface. Firestone was not far behind and, in the next Grand Prix in Montjuïc, provided their equipment tires completely smooth.

The day of Saturday, was marked by the rain, so the debut of the slicks was shy but the next day, under a shining sun, was held the first Formula 1 race with slick tires.

The results were not spectacular, nor much less, and the victory took Jackie Stewart with his semi-slicks of Goodyear, followed by Jacky Ickx and his Ferrari with the Firestone smooth. Only the belgian and Pedro Rodriguez managed scoring with the revolutionaries Firestone. There was a lot of work to do with the compound and the structure of the tire, but on that day they planted the first seed of what is now seen as essential in the world of racing.

The FIA curtails the escalation of benefits

however, the Formula 1 dispensed to them by regulation in 1998 and he did not admit it until 10 years later, returning in 2009 of the hand of Bridgestone, already in solitary, and without a supplier rival. The reason of its ban in 1998 was that climbing speed cornering was being brutal, and the FIA wanted to treat it by limiting the grip of the tires. To do this, forcing Goodyear and Bridgestone, the suppliers at that time, enter in the tread three grooves parallel to reduce the contact surface with the asphalt and provided the same flexibility that limited the grip of the tire. The following year, coinciding with the launch of Goodyear, the FIA introduced a fourth groove to further reduce the grip and, as a result, lap times.


In 1998, times were down a little over a second per lap and, the following year, on nearly four tenths. In 2009, coinciding with a profound change of regulation which he attacked primarily the ability of generating downforce of the cars, the FIA brought back the tires slick. However, the introduction of the double diffuser on the part of BrawnGP, Williams and Toyota, led the times improved an average of five tenths per lap, so yes, with the invaluable help of the slick tires.

Regardless of the speed of the cars, it is difficult to conceive that a racing car on asphalt do not use slicks to get the one that has always been their purpose: defy the laws of physics and get the step-by curve fastest possible.