Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Pirelli wants new F1 contract agreed this year

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola hopes to reach an agreement on a new deal to continue as F1’s official tyre supplier this year.

Their current contract, which expires at the end of 2019, is the third three-year deal they signed since returning to the sport in 2011. It was agreed in late 2015 and officially announced the following year.

Tyres, Yas Marina, 2017
New seven-tyre range won’t confuse fans, Pirelli insists
Isola told F1 Fanatic he hopes to reach a new agreement by September. “Obviously we have the usual tender process to follow,” he said. “We have both FIA and F1 involved.”

“I am sure we will start discussing the new contract because it’s not a secret that Mr Tronchetti [Provera, Pirelli CEO] said we want to continue. There are a lot of new ideas, a lot of plans.”

The new contract will be the first Pirelli has agreed since Liberty Media replaced Bernie Ecclestone in charge of Formula One. Isola says his company has a strong relationship with F1’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn.

“We started to work with him in 2011, in 2010 we were having a lot of meetings with all of the teams and Ross at the time was the chairman of the Tyre Working Group.”

“Now that he is in FOM, Liberty, he is in side of the technical side, he has a team of people working with him. We are very well connected with them so when they need data when they need analysis for the future, we work together.”

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

Pirelli successfully lobbied for more in-season testing during the last round of contract negotiations but Isola doubts they will be able to increase this further.

“It’s difficult to ask them for additional testing because with the season that is 21 races now, the in-season tests, the pre-season tests and on top of that they have to provide the car for an additional session – trust me to try to make a calendar this year was really difficult.”

“So there is a lot of effort from the teams to give us these two days. Ideally I would like more because with more we can also provide a better product. Let’s talk about it in an ideal world, we should have a car at our disposal like it was the first year with Toyota.”

“After a period in which it was a real issue now we have a good solution with 25 days of testing per year,” Isola added. “This year we have the same plan as last year. All the teams are involved, we are giving them one session of tyre testing each. The system is working.”

“I would like to keep the post-season Abu Dhabi test because it was really important for us to understand and collect the data for the following year. It is the first time we have some data to analyse instead of making selections based on feelings.”

“On top of that, not talking on the technical side, obviously it’s important to grow the sport as much as possible. As a sole supplier we are interested in the success of the sport. So any idea they propose that is in this direction is welcome.”

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

11 comments on “Pirelli wants new F1 contract agreed this year”

  1. I’m quite ‘tired’…pun intended…of the tiny finicky optimum operating temp window. I hope that with closer racing in mind, Pirelli will be mandated to make less finicky and tread wear deg tires like they said they were going to do last year but didn’t. I don’t see how making half the battle in F1 be about getting the tires to work, is promoting close racing. In 40 years of viewing F1 I have never tuned in to see who can manage tires better. I want to see driver vs driver action, not a game overwhelmingly of tire management meant to somehow shake up the field or mask over their addiction to aero downforce.

    1. @robbie you want the same thing as I do: racing tyres

    2. I’m not looking forward to the prospect of 21 tyre-races. Every time you think “woah, great pass!” or “that’s a mega lap,” some fun-sucker pipes up saying “actually, his tyres were 5 laps older” or “it’s ultras against superdupersofts, that equals precisely 0.4 seconds every lap”…
      Wet/dry races are always good fun, but please give us some dry tyres the drivers can lean on, slide, smoke, attack, lock up, trash, rub, save and cuddle (if they want to) and follow each other.

      1. +1 I agree, those post comments are just plain annoying and depressing, just when we marvel at the overtake, we read something like that and go “oh it wasn’t awesome.. ! ” one of the depressing moment of this sport.

      2. The problem is that even with DRS you need to be significantly faster to be able to overtake. Tire strategies and differences in tire wear are pretty good at producing the required speed differences. In the end it’s not so much about nice overtaking moves but that drivers can improve their positions during the race.

    3. Outstanding! So many good points there.

  2. digitalrurouni
    18th January 2018, 20:24

    But tire management is part of racing now isn’t it? And come on the 2017 tires were loads better than the previous egg shell based tires. I sure hope we keep seeing an upwards trend in the quality of the tires. That said ugh halo.

    1. Yeah, I am kind of curious to see how they manage this year, I hope using softer compounds won’t mean a return to tyres that really have that super narrow band of working again.

    2. Last year’s tires were terrible. They were slow, still couldn’t be pushed all race long and they failed to produce interesting races. I don’t know why the tire compounds were changed in 2017. The tires and tire rules we had in 2016 were nearly perfect.

  3. bring bridgestone!!

    1. And make them bring their softest tires to the races. That would most likely be an improvement over last year.

Comments are closed.