The chairman of the Pirelli Group, Marco Tronchetti Provera, and Pirelli Tire’s managing director, Francesco Gori, today presented to the media the company’s plans for supplying tires to Formula One for the three-year period between 2011-2013.
The company’s program includes the creation of a dedicated team for the development and production of Formula One tires. The Team of internal Pirelli human resources will be made up of engineers and researchers who have accumulated experience at the highest levels of motorsport: creating winning products for rallying, Superbike, the Rolex Sports Car Series in North America and GT racing, as well as various one-make series. This ensures that the other divisions of the company remain focused on the ongoing business.
In order to meet the Formula One teams’ requirements in terms of reliability, safety and performance, Pirelli’s engineers are already working on simulation models and tire compounds that will be most suited to the rigors of Grand Prix racing.
The Pirelli Formula One team will be an international group of people based in Milan, the home of Pirelli Tire’s research and development department. This division has traditionally been at the heart of Pirelli’s cutting-edge technology and is formed of 1000 research engineers, working in five development centers all over the world. Pirelli Tire allocates each year between three and four per cent of its revenues, the highest level in the tire industry worldwide, to research. Motorsport activities have benefited for many years from the innovations introduced to high-performance tires by Pirelli’s Research and Development.
The Formula One tires will be produced in the motorsport department of Pirelli’s Izmit factory in Turkey, which is entirely dedicated to competition tires.
As established by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the Pirelli Formula 1 supply agreement includes development of six different types of tire for the whole season. Four of these will be slick tires – with different compounds to suit various dry asphalt surfaces – and one will be a rain tire, for heavy precipitation. Finally there will be an intermediate tire, for damp conditions and light rain.
In co-operation with the teams, Pirelli is also ready to develop technical evolutions to the current tires for the future, regarding in particular the wheel size.
Today’s economic climate has enforced a realistic and collaborative approach to share out the production and logistical costs associated with supplying tires to Formula One teams fairly. Pirelli will also invest in communications activities to leverage the technological and production values associated with Formula One, utilizing resources and budget that have already been set aside for this specific purpose. Formula One will become an important showcase for the Pirelli brand along with its commercial and industrial growth, without impacting on the company’s existing financial strategy in any way.
In the coming years, Formula One is expected to attract around two billion television viewers per season, with important media coverage in emerging markets as well. Pirelli’s business development and growth strategy, which is concentrated in these areas, will benefit hugely from the global visibility offered by Formula One, helping to promote the brand and maximize return on the marketing investment.