When it comes to motorsport, tyres are among the most important elements for performance. But there is one category of motorsport where tyres are conceived a little 'differently' to the racing standard.

We are talking about Formula E, which uses tyres closely related to those used on electric road cars. Forget the slick tyres typical of Formula 1. Here, although we are still talking about single-seaters, the reference to the road is much stronger.

Similar, but not the same

Before we get into the specifics and tell you how these tyres are made, we need to make a little introduction to better understand what we are talking about. There is currently only one tyre supplier in the Formula E championship, namely Hankook, which develops and fine-tunes the tyres used by all the teams in the race.

What Formula E tyres look like

Formula E tyres consist of two compounds

Having said that, a quick glance at Hankook's Ion Race tyres is enough to realise how closely they are related to the Ions designed for electric road cars. And if you think this is simply a marketing choice, you are wrong. In reality, the profound similarities between the racing tyre and the road tyre are linked to the series regulations, which dictate the use of a single tyre for all races in the championship and in all weather conditions. In a nutshell, with the same tyre you race in dry and wet conditions, on tracks as hot as in Brazil and as cold as in London.

Two compounds in one

So, Formula E tyres have to behave like electric road tyres, working in extremely changeable conditions. But how is this possible? By adopting two different compounds in the same tyre. The inner part of the tyre, the one closest to the centre of the car, has a harder compound and more grooves to work in wet conditions. The outer part, on the other hand, has a softer compound and fewer grooves, to be more effective in dry conditions.

What Formula E tyres look like

In the development of Formula E tyres, great attention is paid to degradation

As there are no specific tyres for dry or wet conditions, teams have to find the right compromise by working on suspension geometry to allow the tyre to work more on the inside or the outside depending on the weather conditions. But if compound and tread pattern are similar to those of road tyres, what differentiates them is the carcass.

Formula E tyres are more subject to stress, due to the constant jumping over kerbs or possible contact between cars, and on top of that they have to withstand speeds in excess of 200 mph. For this reason, the internal structure of each tyre is specially reinforced to withstand even the hardest stresses.

From track to road

All this is combined with a special focus on wear. For each race weekend, the teams only have two sets of tyres available (three for double dates). This means that at Hankook, they have worked hard to ensure a low level of degradation during the race while maintaining high performance. Precisely for this reason, the tyres are mounted on special rims equipped with a sensor capable of transmitting various parameters of the tyre's operation in real time. Above all, precisely its degradation level.

What Formula E tyres look like

There is a close relationship between Hankook's tyres for Formula E and those for street electrics

Added to this is a particular focus on sustainability. Almost 30% of the Ion Races, in fact, are made from recycled materials and, at the end of each race, Hankook recovers all the tyres used in the race to check them, study them and finally recycle them. An experience transferred completely to road tyres, to make 'everyday' tyres ever more performing and efficient.

Gallery: What Formula E tyres look like