The FIA has opened a tender calling for tyre suppliers to submit offers to become the exclusive tyre supplier for Formula 1 and its two top junior series from 2025.
An invitation to tender forms the first step in the FIA’s process of nominating an exclusive tyre supplier for its three major international single seater championships. The chosen supplier will provide 18-inch tyres for the three seasons after the active contractual agreement with Italian tyre manufacturers Pirelli expires at the end of 2024.
Pirelli have been the exclusive tyre supplier to Formula 1 since 2011, when it took over from Bridgestone. The company was tasked with developing F1 tyres with a ‘cliff’ in performance towards the end of their lifecycle in order to improve the quality of racing. The FIA’s invitation to tender explicitly retains the performance ‘cliff’ as a target for the tyres produced for the 2025, 2026 and 2027 seasons.
Pirelli have indicated their intention to apply to continue as Formula 1’s tyre supplier for the upcoming period. Asked during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend if Pirelli wished to remain in its role until at least 2027, the company’s chief Formula 1 engineer, Simone Berra, said that “we will be there and we propose ourselves.”
There has been some criticism of Pirelli’s Formula 1 tyres during its current contractual period, which began in 2020. In 2021, before the introduction of 18-inch wheels to the sport, eventual world champion Max Verstappen expressed his dissatisfaction after he suffered a tyre blowout while leading the closing laps of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at over 300km/h. However, since the 18-inch wheels were introduced with F1’s ground effect technical regulations in 2022, there have been no high-profile tyre failures during grands prix weekends.
South Korean tyre company Hankook responded to the FIA’s last tender for a tyre supplier in 2018, but the FIA selected to remain with Pirelli until 2023. That tender was then extended by a year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, which caused a one-year delay to the introduction of the 18-inch format.
The FIA’s invitation to tender for its exclusive F1 tyre suppliers confirms its current intentions for tyres to used without blankets to preheat them. The ban on tyre blankets is scheduled to come into force next year providing sufficient representatives of the FIA, Formula 1 and the 10 teams vote in favour of it. However several drivers have expressed concerns about the plan.
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