By Alex Kapadia
Pirelli has announced that it has inaugurated its so-called ‘Factory of Champions’ where it will produce the tyres for Formula One for the next three years.
The plant at Izmit in Turkey, which is celebrating 50 years of activity, has been home to the Italian company’s tyre production line since 2007 and has worked in synergy with the research and development centre in Milan.
The plant is also Pirelli’s largest tyre-production facility, with an output of 8 million tyres for cars, trucks and motorsport each year.
Pirelli has invested €140m (US$187m) at Izmit over the last ten years and plans to invest a further €30m in 2011 to support expansion in Turkey and nearby emerging markets.
In 2011, Pirelli expects to produce 200,000 competition tyres, 50,000 being for F1 teams and 70,000 for the GP2 and GP3 championships, for which Pirelli is the sole supplier.
F1 tyres will be produced exclusively at the Izmit plant on the basis of simulation models, compounds and structures developed by Pirelli R&D, which employs 1,000 engineers and technicians.
The F1 line, which covers an area of 15,000 square metres, will run the most advanced sports tyre production machinery.
The Izmit facility, in synergy with Pirelli’s centre for the preparation of sports tyres in Burton upon Trent in the UK, will also be the centre of all F1 logistics activities.