F1 car tyres have no treads. Why is that?


F1 car tyres have no treads. Why is that?

In: Engineering

They want as much contact between the road and the tires as possible to deal with the crazy torque and braking of those cars so they make them with out treads.

Treads are only there to give water somewhere to go if there’s rain. Without tread cars aquaplane when the surface is wet, sliding very easily, but they have more grip in the dry. F1 cars do have treaded tyres for use in wet conditions.

The groves been the rubber is designed to move water/air away from the tires, so in completely dry conditions they don’t perform any real function. So for the ultra competitive F1 they don’t have groves been tired, even the wet tires have fairly minimal groves.

As an additional answer, in tyres with tread patterns the rubber can move about as it comes under sideways pressure when cornering etc. That generates more heat and wear so F1 tyres with tread for use in wet conditions degrade very quickly on a dry track. As the track dries after rain you will often see the drivers deliberately drive onto wet areas of tarmac off the main line to keep the tyres cooler if they can’t be swapped just yet.

Wets do, slicks don’t. Slick tyres aquaplane in the wet. Treads channel the water away.

Racing tyres are not meant for regular use, but your regular tyres are.

Tires with no tread have much more grip in dry conditions. They’re also typically a much softer compound of rubber than street cars so they heat up to 100C to stick to the track even better. Combined with the downforce of the aerodynamics it provides maximum performance at the top level of motorsport.

F1 cars require a huge amount of grip when cornering at high speeds and to maximise grip, you maximise the area of the tyre in contact with the track.

The main purpose of treads is to channel water out from under the tyre to maximise the contact area with the road (and not the surface water). Without the tread, the tyres will aquaplane and you’ll lose traction with the road, meaning that you won’t be able to safely control the car.

In summary, F1 cars use slicks (smooth tyres) in dry conditions for maximum grip and use treaded tyres for wet conditions to prevent the car aquaplaning.