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MAY 27, 2010

Pirelli closes on F1 deal

The word in Turkey is that Pirelli has emerged as strong favourite to land F1's tyre supply deal when Bridgestone leaves at the end of the current season.

In Spain leading paddock figures said that it looked like a toss-up between Pirelli and Michelin, but FOTA discussions since then have seen the Italian company emerge as the one most likely to ink a deal, subject to ratification by the governing body, the FIA, and Formula One Management.

Pirelli's commercial terms are believed to be attractive and the company is known to be keen to use the top echelon of racing to boost a brand that was perhaps better known for its performance products two or three decades ago, than it is today. Pirelli was last active in F1 in 1991 and has not had a presence in single seater racing until a supply deal for GP3 this year signalled its intent. Bridgestone, in the meantime, has enjoyed strong brand benefits from its F1 association.

It is believed that Pirelli will carry on supplying 13" diameter rubber for at least the next two years and is understood to have sought reassurances that there will not be tyre competition in F1 during that time.