Pirelli today secured a three-year contract extension as Formula One’s sole tyre supplier.
The Italian tyre supplier was brought in for the 2011 season in order to make races more exciting by causing more pit stops and thus shaking up the strategy. Their welcome was mixed with 2013 a hugely negative year for the brand; fans were angry that excessive tyre wear prompted drivers to focus on saving the tires and not on racing each other. You can read my thoughts on that here.
Next in 2013, they came under intense scrutiny when four tyres exploded during the Silverstone Grand Prix, prompting safety concerns which led the GPDA (Grand Prix Driver’s Association) to threaten a boycott of the following race should they not be assured of safe tyres.
Pirelli was also dragged before the FIA International Tribunal on the 20th of June for holding a ‘private’ tyre test with Mercedes after the Spanish Grand Prix in May, which they kept secret.
Despite the trouble, Pirelli were granted a three-year extension to their contract with Formula One.
“Following a decision by the World Motor Sport Council confirming Pirelli’s status as the single supplier of tyres to the FIA Formula One World Championship, Pirelli and the FIA have renewed their Formula One tyre supply contract,” read Pirelli’s statement this afternoon. “The duration of the agreement is for three years, starting from the 2014 season.”
The press release also included details regarding testing;
“One of the 12 days of official pre-season testing, as prescribed in the 2014 Sporting Regulations, will be dedicated exclusively to wet tyre testing,” the press release said.
Each team will dedicate one of their eight days of in-season testing, as prescribed in the 2014 Sporting Regulations, exclusively to tyre testing. This means that during each of the eight days of in-season testing, at least one team – and up to a maximum of two – will be concentrating on tyre testing along with Pirelli’s engineers,” the statement continued.
Pirelli altering the tyre structure over the summer break benefited Red Bull, and Sebastian Vettel in particular, who won all nine races during the second half of the season.
Image courtesy of Pirelli