Formula 1‘s governing body, the FIA, has extended its contract with Pirelli as the sole tyre supplier by one year to 2024 on Friday to reflect disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said the extension was in the best interests of all stakeholders.
The most recent 2018 tender was for the supply of 13-inch tyres during the 2020 season and then three seasons of 18-inch tyres.
The pandemic triggered emergency measures and led to the postponement to 2022 of the 18-inch tyres, along with major rule changes.
FIA president Jean Todt said the change of tyre size represented a significant technical challenge and investment for Pirelli.
“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,” he added.
The FIA and Formula 1 have proposed, and Pirelli has agreed, a one-year extension to the existing exclusive tyre supply contract to reflect the original intention of the 2018 tyre tender and remain within the overall technical framework, which is in the best interests of all relevant stakeholders.
The most recent tyre tender from the FIA and Formula 1 back in 2018 was for the supply of a 13-inch tyre during the 2020 season, followed by three consecutive seasons of 18-inch tyres from 2021 to 2023 inclusive.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which also disrupted the 2020 Formula 1 season, obliged the FIA and Formula 1 to implement emergency measures that included the cancellation of tyre development tests last year and the postponement of planned new technical regulations – which included 18-inch tyres – from 2021 to 2022. As a result, the current rules now state that 13-inch tyres will be used during the 2021 season, with a move to 18-inch tyres in 2022.
STEFANO DOMENICALI, FORMULA 1 PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: “The pandemic caused disruption across the world and Formula 1 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. We look forward to the start of the 2021 season and we are all excited for the new cars and new 18-inch tyres to hit the track under the new regulations in 2022.”
JEAN TODT, FIA PRESIDENT: “I want to thank Formula 1 and Pirelli for their collaboration, flexibility and commitment to our sport during this most difficult period. 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 Formula 1 remains undiminished. The shift to 18” wheels and tyres will certainly provide a more exciting image for Formula 1 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”.
MARCO TRONCHETTI PROVERA, PIRELLI EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: “The world of motorsport has also had to face up to the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the FIA and FOM did an extraordinary job to organise a 17-race championship in 2020. We’re obviously pleased to have reached this agreement that will extend our presence at the pinnacle of world motorsport until 2024. Pirelli has been alongside Formula 1 for more than 70 years, since the very first race in 1950, and the company continues to invest in the highest technological levels of research and development, as shown by the introduction of 18-inch tyres from next year. Motorsport forms part of our DNA and Formula 1 represents an open-air laboratory that allows us to apply the know-how gained on track into our road car tyres, starting off with the Ultra High Performance range that equips the most prestigious cars in the world”.