The development of intelligent tire technology from concept to application covers multi-disciplinary fields. During the course of development, the computational method can play a significant role in understanding tire behavior, assisting in the design of the intelligent tire prototype system and in developing tire parameters estimation algorithm, etc. In this paper, a finite element tire model was adopted for developing a strain-based intelligent tire system. The finite element tire model was created considering the tire's composite structure and nonlinear properties of its constituent materials, and the FE model was also validated by physical tests. The FE model is used to study tire strain characteristics by steady state simulation for straight line rolling, traction and braking, as well as cornering. Tire loading conditions were estimated by feature extraction and data fitting. This process forms the fundamentals for identifying tire loadings from strain information at potential sensor locations. Finally, the pros and cons of applying finite element tire model in developing tire loading estimation algorithm are discussed. A perspective of the role of FE-based method in developing strain-based intelligent tire system is proposed.