Pirelli 18-inch tyres on a Formula 2 car, Monza, 2019

FIA extends Pirelli’s F1 tyre contract by one year

2021 F1 season

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The FIA has agreed to extend Pirelli’s contract as the official sole supplier of tyres to Formula 1 by one year.

A meeting of the World Motor Sport Council confirmed the decision to extend Pirelli’s deal until the end of 2024.

Pirelli, which has supplied F1’s tyres since 2011, was chosen over rival bidder Hankook when the contract last came up for renewal. Whereas previous contracts were offered over a three-year period, the latest tender covered four years, from 2020 to 2023.

The longer deal was a result of the planned move to 18-inch wheels for the 2021 season. Extending the deal to four years was intended to give the successful bidder a three-year window to recoup the developments costs associated with the 18-inch rubber.

However the introduction of 18-inch tyres was postponed to 2022 last year as a cost-saving measure due to the pandemic. The FIA has therefore taken the decision to extend Pirelli’s contract by a further year, ensuring its supply of 18-inch tyres will last for three years as originally envisaged.

“We are very proud of our partnership with Pirelli and grateful to them for their constructive approach to this timing change,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “Pirelli are very conscious of strategic role that the tyres have in F1 and we know that they are working very hard to make sure that their products will represent the best balance between performance and durability in the new technical context.

“We look forward to the start of the 2021 season and we are all excited for the new cars and new 18-inch tyres to hit the track under the new regulations in 2022.”

FIA president Jean Todt said: “I want to thank Formula 1 and Pirelli for their collaboration, flexibility and commitment to our sport during this most difficult period. Covid-19 has presented us with significant challenges across all aspects of our businesses, but by working together in a sensible, pragmatic way, we have been able to ensure that the long term stability and strength of Formula 1 remains undiminished.

“The shift to 18-inch wheels and tyres will certainly provide a more exciting image for Formula 1 cars, but it has also presented a significant technical challenge requiring a lot of investment and development on behalf of Pirelli as they continue to deliver tyres that will perform at the highest level. In light of this, and the necessary postponement of the new regulations as a result of the pandemic, it is only logical to extend the supply of tyres accordingly.”

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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...

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  • 14 comments on “FIA extends Pirelli’s F1 tyre contract by one year”

    1. I understand it financially, but still boooooooooo

    2. Other than certain victory, what do the Pirellis cost the teams?

    3. Pirelli are such an easy scapegoat when in reality F1 has far bigger problems

      1. Fully agree. Calendar needs fixing, cars needs fixing and we need more teams to the grid. Yes, tyres aren’t perfect, but it’s not the biggest issue F1 has. Not by a long shot.

        1. @kingshark @huhhii The fixes are in play, and let’s not pretend the drivers love these tires. They don’t. And if once the fixes start coming to fruition next year the tires are still as bad as they have been for too long, they are indeed going to be a big problem and will hamper all the great work Brawn and the teams have been doing to achieve a much more driver vs driver series.

    4. Bring back the tyre war.

    5. Coventry Climax
      6th March 2021, 11:31

      The 2020 tender itself was an absolute FIA fraud. Who would want to invest in making F1 tyres for a 1 year period? To then invest the same amount again the next year when the tyres change to 18 inch rims?
      Still, given the quality Pirelli has consistently come up with, any other manufacturer would have done better.

    6. I’m sure some will think this a naive comment but surely, given the new dimensions of the tires, and the new directive of F1, they can (or will be mandated to) finally move away from these terrible thermal deg tires and on to tread wear deg tires that are much less finicky.

      What would be the sense of changing these cars to be able to race closely, with drivers with much more confidence in their cars as they approach corners behind other cars, only to have them risk taking their tires out of their prime operating window when applying said extra confidence in the cars’ performance?

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th March 2021, 15:58

        Unfortunately though, you seldom see the FIA do things that make sense.
        Not sure if thread-wear is the solution. A) That would require threaded tyres to start with, where slicks are the norm (granted, it’s the FIA to decide so I rule out nothing) and B) if the thread on threaded tyres is gone, you end up with… slicks!

        1. Coventry Climax Oh dear, you need to brush up on your F1 tire knowledge. First I’ll just note too that I use ‘tire’ not ‘tyre’ as that’s how we spell it in Canada/North America. But I’ve been aware since I was a kid of the use of the tyre spelling in other parts of the world.

          It is not ‘thread’ but ‘tread.’ And yes indeed a slick tire has a tread, which just happens to be smooth. Tread is a reference to the surface of the tire and it’s thickness and shape, be that in slick form or in various formats (what you currently only seem to know to be tread) we see in racing for wet conditions, and of course on domestic cars that need to work in all weather conditions and for which slicks would be useless.

          So for the purpose of F1, the difference between the thermal tires that they have been using for too long imho, which degrade moreso due to being out of the optimum temperature window, based on their chemical makeup, and treadwear tires, is that treadwear tires degrade moreso simply out of having the thickness of the tread wear down, and thus degrading or falling off their optimum performance window that way. Of course treadwear tires still have characteristics about them that change with temperature too, but less so than thermal deg tires. And of course thermal deg tires have their tread wear down too over usage, and more rapidly when they are not in their prime temp window.

          So it is always a balance with any maker of racing tires. As we have seen for too long, the current tires are way too sensitive to operating only in a specific narrow temp window, and there is a real art to getting those tires into that window, as they comment on all the time during qualifying and races. And we also know that when trailing a car, the dirty air causes the trailing car to move around in the turbulence, which affects what happens with the temps of the tires, amongst other factors like downforce and setup even when alone on the track in clean air etc etc.

          Tires that are primarily treadwear tires are generally less finicky about the temp they need to operate within optimally, but of course there are thousands of combinations of rubber and chemical makeup makers can use to combine how much the tread wears and how much wear is from whatever narrowness or broadness they want to build into the tires.

          Bottom line for me is that the new tires for 2022 must imho be far less finicky as to the narrowness of temp window, as in, the window needs to be broader so the drivers don’t have to spend so much time obsessing over driving to a model just to keep the tires working well, and with treadwear tires that window can be broader and allow the drivers to just go out there and push and race on them without all the worry about their temps. I am not suggesting the tires need be made bulletproof and that they should be able to just push to the max lap after lap, and tire conservation is always a factor, but I think you get my point…the drivers should be plying their trade moreso to the art of racing and less so to the art of tire conservation and driving lap times based on what their engineer tells them they need to do in order to make their tire strategy work.

    7. Current tires are bad by design. Pirelli are a great company. Real shame they are not allowed to make ultimate tires.

      1. @jureo The trouble with the tires is fully on Pirelli.

        The main thing that Paul Hembry sold their tender on at the start was fast degrading tires. That what the FIA accepted and then subsequently held them to this promise/idea.

        So, the only thing they are really supposed to do is make sure the softer/faster tires run through the available tread sooner and therefore required more pit stops. And vice versa, harder tires be slower and last longer.

        Other than that the tires should just work as normal tires.

        However, that the tires are useless when actually trying to extract that extra speed on softer compounds, that they are insanely sensitive to temperatures, that they explode even when still within their designed lifetime etc etc etc is all down to Pirelli.

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