It’s funny to think that an entire Formula 1 car ¬is entrusted to just a few square centimetres of rubber gripping the asphalt. Looking at the whole field of 20 cars, that roughly adds up to around eight square metres and 700 kilograms of advanced technology fighting the laws of physics, courtesy of Pirelli’s tyres. Here’s how it all works, in theory and in practice. Centrifugal force tries to throw the cars to the outside of every corner. The tyres try to do the exact opposite. In Formula 1, these tyres are 305 millimetres wide at the front and 405 millimetres wide at the back, generating as much grip as possible. The slick tyres, as the name suggests, have no tread pattern on them, in order to provide optimal contact between the rubber and the road.