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It is hard to speculate on the production cost of a tyre, because teams do not pay for the single tyre, a complete set or all used tyres on a weekend anymore. Nowadays all teams pay a flat fee between 2.5 and 4.5 million Euro per season to their tyre supplier Pirelli.

That sounds a lot initially, but you have to take into account the total numbers and what else comes with it. For each of the 20 race weekends in the 2012 Formula 1 season, Pirelli provides each team with 144 tyres. That amounts to 36 sets or 18 sets per driver for each race. Any tyres, no matter if used or not, are returned to Pirelli who destroys and recycles them.

If you were to calculate a price out of that, you'd get to a range of ~875-1600 Euro per tyre, but it's not the whole truth.

The tyre supplier does more than supply the black gold. The flat fee comes with technical support and a free tyre engineer and who knows what else. Also, teams do not necessarily pay the (full) sum but pay in other ways, like with sponsor displays on their cars.

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The front tire must be between 305 and 355 mm wide, and the rear tyre must be between 365 and 380 mm wide. The diameter of the wheel rim must be between 328 and 332 mm (13") and the diameter of the wheels themselves must not exceed 660 mm (with dry-weather tires) or 670 mm (with wet-weather tires). The tires feature four symmetrical longitudinal grooves, which must be at least 14 mm wide and 2.5 mm deep. The tire manufacturers deliver new tires matching the specific track and the vehicle behaviour for virtually every grand prix.

Q: What is the tire size of a Formula 1 car?

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