Pirelli’s most recent deal covered the four seasons from 2020 to 2023, and only the first was to be with traditional 13-inch tyres before the originally-planned switch to 18-inch in 2021.
However, as the global health pandemic hit last year the new F1 regulations were postponed to 2022, which meant that Pirelli would have been guaranteed only two years with the 18-inch rubber in 2022 and 2023 before potentially losing out at the next tender process.
Acknowledging that the situation was unfair on Pirelli, given the investment required, the FIA and F1 proposed an extension until 2024 which Pirelli was happy to accept. The tyre company has contracts with both organisations in relation to the supply deal, with F1’s covering commercial arrangements.
“I want to thank F1 and Pirelli for their collaboration, flexibility and commitment to our sport during this most difficult period,” said FIA president Jean Todt. “COVID-19 has presented us with significant challenges across all aspects of our businesses, but by working together in a sensible, pragmatic way, we have been able to ensure that the long-term stability and strength of F1 remains undiminished.
“The shift to 18-inch wheels and tyres will certainly provide a more exciting image for F1 cars, but it has also presented a significant technical challenge requiring a lot of investment and development on behalf of Pirelli as they continue to deliver tyres that will perform at the highest level.
“In light of this, and the necessary postponement of the new regulations as a result of the pandemic, it is only logical to extend the supply of tyres accordingly.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali agreed that an extension was the right solution: “The pandemic caused disruption across the world and F1 was not immune from that. We therefore took the necessary measures last year to defer the regulations by one year to 2022. We are very proud of our partnership with Pirelli and grateful to them for their constructive approach to this timing change.
“Pirelli are very conscious of strategic role that the tyres have in F1 and we know that they are working very hard to make sure that their products will represent the best balance between performance and durability in the new technical context.”
Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera added: “We’re obviously pleased to have reached this agreement that will extend our presence at the pinnacle of world motorsport until 2024. Motorsport forms part of our DNA and F1 represents an open air laboratory that allows us to apply the knowhow gained on track into our road car tyres.”