Pirelli deny WRC pull-out linked to F1 future as it awaits FIA’s decision

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In the round-up: Formula 1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli says its decision not to continue supplying rubber to the World Rally Championship is not linked to its future in grand prix racing.

In brief

Pirelli WRC exit not linked to F1 future

The FIA is poised to decide which manufacturer has been selected as F1’s tyre supplier for the 2025 to 2027 seasons. Pirelli is understood to have submitted an application as well as former F1 tyre supplier Bridgestone.

Earlier this month Pirelli confirmed it would not seek to extend its deal to supply tyres to the World Rally Championship. But its head of motor sport Mario Isola said this decision is not linked to it’s future participation in F1.

“We have a team dedicated to WRC and we believe that in this period we got what we wanted in terms of being a part of the sport,” said Isola. “The team that is looking after WRC, or rallying in general, is not the same team that we have for Formula 1.”

Pirelli is in its 13th consecutive year as F1’s sole tyre supplier. Isola said it needs to spend longer in F1 than rallying to get the full value of its investment in the series.

“In rally you have a niche of spectators that are very passionate about that and in four years you can tell them what you want, basically. Formula 1 is a different audience and to put in the mind of the people that you are the supplier, that you are there, that you develop the top technology, takes a much longer time.”

No change at DS Penske

DS Penske have confirmed an unchanged driver line-up for next year’s Formula E season. It will retain its all-champion pairing of Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vergne scored the team’s only victory of last season at the Hyderabad track in India, as DS Penske took fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Softer tyres for Mexican Grand Prix

will bring a softer selection of rubber for this year’s Mexican Grand Prix. It has nominated the softest tyres in its range – the C5, C4 and C3 – which are one stage harder than those used last season. It will also give teams two extra sets of a new version of the C4 compound for testing during practice.

Pirelli also confirmed the same tyre selections for the United States and Brazilian grands prix as last year: the C4, C3 and C2 compounds will be used.

Losail gets upgrades and new surface

Losail International Circuit, 2023
Losail’s had a lick of paint for its second F1 race
The Losail International Circuit has had several upgrades ahead of its second Formula 1 grand prix next week. The track has been resurfaced and new digital flag panels installed.

Around two-and-a-half kilometres of debris fencing have been installed, supplied by Geobrugg, whose designs are being used increasingly widely at other F1 tracks including Silverstone and Miami.

Fans will also benefit from the addition of a new grandstand at turn two and extra video screens positioned around the track.

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Comment of the day

Does Red Bull’s relationship with AlphaTauri give them an advantage their rivals don’t have?

Surely these kind of actions go against the spirit of the rules and at least against the spirit of the budget cap rules. I’m not sure if the current rules allow these kind of actions, but they shouldn’t: one team sacrificing its own performance in order to benefit another team.

(And no, I am not suggesting that Red Bull or AlphaTauri broke any rules. In any case, this was before the budget cap rules. But if this loophole still exists, it should be fixed. Otherwise Ferrari and Mercedes could buy their own sister teams and bypass budget rules.)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Donwatters!

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...

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20 comments on “Pirelli deny WRC pull-out linked to F1 future as it awaits FIA’s decision”

  1. recotd: the only possible rule it broke was regarding data-sharing of non-listed parts, Tost says Red Bull looked at the performance data of the engine very carefully every step of the way… Regarding this the sporting regulations state information can only be shared regarding the fitment of the parts and data required for running of the parts.

    That being said, I’m not sure the ECU is counted as a non-listed part, sure it wasn’t in the listed parts (such as bodywork, chassis, etc, which had stronger data sharing rules), but it’s kind of it’s own separate component, rather than a part.

    Assuming this data was coming from Honda itself, rather than Toro Rosso anyway, I’m almost certain no rules were broken. I don’t think FIA can stop an engine supplier from showing a team how well their engine performs, that would just be silly. But if that data was specific to Torro Rosso, there maybe could be an extremely thin and reaching case.

    Either way, as many pointed out, there is nothing stopping any engine manufacturer or constructor from doing this and I don’t think it’s even a “loop-hole” that’s possible to be closed. Any team could have chosen to sink its season to help the manufacturer develop their engine at the cost of many penalties, in some ways McLaren could even come out and say they helped Honda and thus Red Bull just as Torro Rosso did.

    Considering development is currently frozen, it’s closed for now. Whether any teams will take a similar approach in the future will remain to be seen. It does prompt the need for amore efficacious power unit penalties which even at the time were complained about.

    1. I think as it’s planned that Red Bull were going to use Honda engines in the future if there were beter then Renault Honda gladly give Data of it’s engines to get Red Bull as customer.

    2. That being said, I’m not sure the ECU is counted as a non-listed part

      I thought the ECU hardware was a spec part, with the hardware coming from one supplier for a number of years.
      I think it was a McLaren engineering development (rummages in search engine) – yep, “McLaren Applied”

      McLaren Applied have supplied this electronic control unit since 2008, and most recently secured a further extension of this contract to be F1’s ECU provider from 2026 – 2030.[

  2. The upgrades, such as new pit building, relaid tarmac, etc., were done a little while ago or have been in progress for some time, so nothing new.
    I’m surprised about new light panels, though, because the same standard FIA ones were already used in 2021, & while the grandstand addition at T2 will probably mean a screen at that part, I doubt more screens (besides the one that already was there in the inaugural event) would get added because the remaining lap doesn’t have grandstands, but we’ll see.

    1. #3, #5 and #7. All in one post 👏

  3. As to the Rodin Cars article about Andretti entering F1:

    4: Ferrari collaboration
    We had the opportunity of discussions for a Ferrari collaboration on the Rodin F1 car

    What’s that about? ‘Ferrari collaboration’ is a requirement for a new team to enter F1??????

    1. That whole article seems to be TiC.

    2. It’s a rather clumsy way of saying that they had some negotiations about a possible engine supply deal with Ferrari.

  4. What I find somewhat bewildering about future talent schemes for motorsport engineers is that motorsport’s trajectory is not one that wants to discover and promote innovative thinkers. Take F1. The budget cap has meant there’s less jobs in F1. The draw bridge for new teams is being pulled up, so the losses from the budget cap aren’t really being off-set. if you’re in F1 fantastic, but if you’re not is it really an industry you want to pursue? We have Formula Student which is great but not paid afaik. Unless you get into F1 what roles are left beyond that that really allow creative muscles to be flexed?

    A ton of racing is being pushed to go more spec in general, so what exactly are we training these kids for? I think a broader look at motorsport in general and actually discuss what it can offer these kids in terms of potential careers, because if any of them were half sharp they’d be off to the aerospace industry. We’re not really fostering a sport that is providing unique opportunities, or many at all, for young talent.

    1. … and I will extend this to potential F1 drivers. We see constant talk about this and that with regard to F1 opportunities but fail to acknowledge we’re at historic lows for new seats appearing.

    2. Coventry Climax
      29th September 2023, 9:56

      That is a concern I too feel deeply and share with you.

      My wording:
      The engineering is gradually being taken out of F1, in favor of roles known from the entertainment industry and/or within politics.
      Being the best engineering team seems to mean you deserve punishment these days. Instead of being praised for interpreting the rules such that you can find and introduce something revolutionary or even just plain ‘new’, these days that’s treated like being caught with your hands in the cooky jar, with one hand to be chopped off for punishment. There’s a fast decreasing incentive to think out of the box.
      Instead, it’s promoted to have the skills to effectively complain about your opponents, any area, more than it is to try and find weaknesses within your own, finding solutions for them and attempting to better yourself.
      Some say that too, requires being smart, I say it’s just numbing and dumbing down people.
      Despite all the money that goes round in F1, I see it becoming a meagre, cheap environment mentally, and engineering wise.

    3. F1 has been called the piranha club for decades and for a reason.
      Politics has always been part of the sport, as have mindgames.
      Your opponent is distracted, loses focus, and drops the ball, you reap benefits.

    4. Unless you get into F1 what roles are left beyond that that really allow creative muscles to be flexed?

      Making a race car is very much a ‘solved’ problem from an engineering perspective. You no longer need years or decades of experience to do so.

      There is not much creativity in F1 either. Most cars are within a few tenths of each other, and do the same things in slightly different ways, some of which may offer a bit more scope for refinement than others.

      1. Fair point, but alas, the valuable roles are from the design perspective. So we’ll see this calls for programs for young disadvantaged people while simultaneously creating an environment where there’s measurably less opportunity. I think find that very strange. What are we actually trying to encourage here? We’re not exactly creating a vibrant environment.

      2. Coventry Climax
        30th September 2023, 0:31

        Making a race car is very much a ‘solved’ problem from an engineering perspective. You no longer need years or decades of experience to do so.

        Sorry, but being an engineer myself, I have to strongly disagree with that.
        Given the restrictions the FiA has put in place, you have a point to an extent, but if the rules wouldn’t hamper things, you’d be surprised at what racecars could look like and feature. We’ve had some quite clever and outlandish things in the past that have vanished because the were forbidden, and not because they weren’t -potentially- successful. Six wheels, active suspension and the variomatic gearbox are examples. The rules on suspension currently -and quite stupidly- do not allow for four wheel steering or variable geometry. And the PU as well, is a very restricted part which would hugely benefit if these restrictions were lifted and/or just formulated differently.
        There’s huge area’s to discover and explore, and it’s only the FiA that’s constantly keeping the door shut. What bothers me about that is that at the same time they keep shouting F1 is the pinnacle.

        For roadgoing cars it’s more or less the same, be it on a simpler level maybe. Only here it’s mainly the general public (where the bulk of the sales figures are) that dictates design, functionality and looks. Generally, they/we all want to be able to have 4 persons in it, plus luggage, ski’s or bicycles on top, a tow hook etc. Airco, entertainment system, central door lock, electrically adjustable mirrors, park and lane assist, the whole shabam, they’re are always there because when the guy next door has that, we all want it and cars won’t be sold anymore without, it seems. And yes, the other part of it is restricted by law. It would, for example, be practical to have a third braking light that starts in the center and spreads out wider in relation to how hard the brake pedal is pressed. Allows the driver behind to see how hard someone is braking. And why the heck do we still have these ridiculously ineffective ventilators to defrost our windscreens? Requires a warm engine to function, which isn’t there when you need it most. What’s wrong with integrating the same electrically heated system that’s in your rear window into your windscreen? (Great choice, thank you Caterham!) That’s hugely effective within seconds and without noise. Combined throttle/break pedal: tilt for throttle, push down for braking, and tilt is ineffective when the pedal is pressed down. Saves a lot of reaction time in emergency situations. Prohibited by law though, unless you’re disabled maybe. So, price, fashion and law decide here, not common sense.
        And that’s just a couple of almost stupidly simple examples, out of a million options.

  5. Given the way F1 operates these days, I sincerely doubt it’s going to happen, but for now, I can still hope for a switch to Bridgestone.
    Even if you do not share my feeling they’ve not really been doing their job particularly well, Pirelli has been around for long enough. It’s time for a change and to see how a fresh supplier approaches their challenges.

    1. The drivers preference would be Bridgestone (Or Michelin). In terms of performance the teams would also want Bridgestone (Or Michelin).

      However FOM/Liberty would prefer Pirelli due to them been willing to accept a commercial contract that is better for them. And also from a commercial side the teams bosses will vote Pirelli even though basically everyone else within the teams would prefer Bridgestone (Or Michelin).

      Pirelli are basically locked in until another supplier is willing to offer a better commercial deal because the supply contract is no longer about providing the best product possible from a performance perspective. It’s now purely about money and producing a show.

      1. Coventry Climax
        30th September 2023, 0:44

        It’s usually me that needs quite a couple of words to express myself, but that too is a lot of words to support my first sentence:

        Given the way F1 operates these days, I sincerely doubt it’s going to happen

        But I -obviously- fully agree.

    2. They really should leave, the DNA of their tyres has never really changed. Fragile tyres for the so called pinnacle of motorsports. The pirellis have never lensed themselves to good racing. I would much rather see Bridgestone or Michelin.

  6. Potentially unpopular opinion: I actually quite like the Losail circuit, and I think it and Kuwait Motor Town are the best circuits in the Middle East. Losail is very fast, and I like fast circuits.

Comments are closed.