Following the partnership, which was up for renewal at the end of 2019, a new agreement has been completed continuing Pirelli’s longstanding relationship with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
All parties have reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards the new technical regulations expected for 2021, including the 18-inch tyre.
While Michelin initially appear to be interested a return to F1, the French manufacturer – which provided tyres for F1 between 1977 and 1984 and then again between 2001 and 2006 – admitted that it was not happy with the prospect of supplying 13-inch tyres for one season (2020) or the demand for controlled tyre degradation. This left Korean manufacturer Hankook as the only possible alternative to Pirelli.
“Pirelli have been an important and valued partner to Formula 1 since 2011,” said Chase Carey on confirming the deal. “They are leaders in providing innovative state of the art capabilities. They are a premium brand, a clear global leader in motorsport and our ongoing partnership with them is proof once more of our desire to align F1 with the best in motorsport and beyond. We are delighted to have reached this agreement, which guarantees a long-term stable future for such a crucial component of Formula 1.”
“I am happy to have Pirelli appointed for another period as official tyre supplier to the world championship,” added Jean Todt. “It will allow all of us to enjoy the experience gained since 2011. We know how crucial and difficult is the role of the tyre supplier and, particularly, in Formula 1.”
“It’s excellent news that Pirelli is prolonging its partnership with Formula 1 until 2023,” said Marco Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli Vice President and CEO. “This new agreement extends our presence to a total of 13 seasons in the modern era, with Pirelli also present in 1950, when the World Championship was inaugurated. Formula 1 is and will remain the pinnacle of motorised competition: the perfect environment for Pirelli, which has always defined motorsport as its most advanced technological research and development laboratory. Formula 1 provides the perfect showcase for our Ultra High Performance road car tyres, which equip the world’s most desirable prestige and premium vehicles to guarantee the highest standards of performance, sustainability and safety.”
Interestingly, while Pirelli provides the tyres essentially demanded by the sport, producing the sort of wear it is felt will provide the best racing, Michelin claimed that the sport could feature a ‘tyre war’ with just one manufacturer.
Speaking to Motorsport.com in September, Michelin’s motorsport boss, Pascal Couasnon, said that his company’s experience and success in other forms of racing could be brought to F1, to the benefit of the sport.
“Is F1 good today? That would be my question,” he said. “The sport and the manufacturer would have to take a risk, but compared to today…
“Look at MotoGP,” he continued. “We bring three types of tyres for the front and the rear, and the riders can choose. You then finish the race with three different combinations on the podium.
“The best compliment we have received from journalists is that Michelin has recreated a tyre war with one brand, and that is what we would love to do for F1.
“Let’s not forget also in endurance racing, for example, in GTs, we deliver specific tyres for each car because there is such a difference between a Ferrari, a Porsche, an Aston and a Corvette. And nobody complains because we work hard to give the best package possible, so everybody can fight. That is the philosophy we would like to bring to F1.”