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