Pirelli has ruled itself out of the job of replacing Bridgestone as the Formula One tyres supplier from 2011, the Italian company confirmed today.
Bridgestone, which had been the sole supplier of tyres since 2007, announed earlier this week that it would not renew its contract after the end of the 2010 season.
However, a spokesman for the Italian tyres manufacturer said: “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 Superbike, World Rally Championship and GT2.”
Bridgestone had already cut its F1-related spending by 30 per cent last season, yet still still poured about $70m into the sport. It cited “the continuing evolution of the business environment” for its decision not to renew its contract when it expires next year.
Chris Aylett, chief executive of the UK’s Motorsport Industry Association, said F1 had over the years seen tyre suppliers come and go depending on economic cycles.
F1 had a good record in attracting top-line tyre suppliers, he added, and had plenty of time on its side, but it was too early to spot a likely replacement for Bridgestone, though he suggested one interested party could be Kumho, the South Korean manufacturer.
“The recession is affecting tyre brands in so many different ways that it makes it hard to predict who might gain the most in 2011,” he said. “It is open season for tyre brands to step forward and make the deal that suits them best.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team