April 22, 2010
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Italian manufacturer Pirelli is considering a return to F1
Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli has joined the race to supply tyres to the F1 grid from next year onwards. As Bridgestone are leaving at the end of this year, both Michelin and Cooper Avon have already started negotiations to take the Japanese company’s place.
Pirelli have competed in 203 Grands Prix across Formula 1 history, and have the privelige of supplying tyres to the first ever Grand Prix winner (Alfa Romeo) at the 1950 British Grand Prix.
There were similar rumours about Pirelli in 2006, when they were tipped to return to F1. However, back then, the company said that they wanted to focus their attention on road-going tyres, rather than racing tyres. Their statement back then was as follows:
"Pirelli's previous position on F1 hasn't changed. Pirelli prefers
to develop tyres for racing that will also be used on the road.
Pirelli sponsors Superbikes, the World Rally Championship and GT2."
However, quotes from Marco Tronchetti, Chairman of Pirelli, would suggest that Pirelli are now revisiting the idea of returning to F1, as long as certain criteria are met. It is believed that one of their conditions is that F1 wheels would be increased from 13 to 18 inches. This has already been voiced by Michelin, as they want Formula 1 tyres to be more related to their road-going counterparts.
This is something I support quite a lot, as F1 needs to make its technology more relatable to road cars. After the failure of KERS last year, tyres need to be used by Formula 1 to promote road-going technology.