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Pirelli faces competition for F1 tyre supply deal

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Pirelli faces competition for F1 tyre supply deal
By:
Sep 1, 2018, 10:36 AM

FIA president Jean Todt has confirmed that “more than one” tyre company has put in a bid for the 2020-2023 Formula 1 tyre contract.

Sources suggest that Korean company Hankook is the main rival to current incumbent Pirelli.

Michelin, widely regarded as a potential bidder, confirmed on Friday that it has decided not to bid.

The big complication for anyone other than Pirelli winning the tender is that the 2020 season will be conducted with current tyre sizes, before a switch to 18-inch sizes and no tyre blankets for 2021.

Hankook is already well-known to the FIA as supplier for the European F3 series, while it has also been the sole tyre provider for the DTM since 2011.

“The ending of the tender was last night at midnight,” said Todt. “I don’t have the result yet of who has been applying for the tender.

"I know it’s more than one, that I know. I knew since a while now, before August, that Michelin was not going to compete for the tender.”

The FIA will spend the next two weeks analysing the bids, and then those bids that are considered technically capable of fulfilling the tender will be passed to the F1 organisation, who will make a call on the commercial aspects.

Hankook tyres

Hankook tyres

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport

“I can confirm that we are interested in the tender,” said Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola. “I can confirm that we sent the application. The technical document from the FIA is quite detailed, and we are happy to discuss it.

“As I’ve said in the past, our approach is to work together to find the best solution. They will probably have quite a lot of technical working groups, because it’s not just 18-inch tyres that are part of the package, and also the characteristics of the tyres need to be discussed.”

Isola admitted that applying was a much more complex process this time around because of the extra requirements outlined in the tender, especially those related to degradation.

“It took some time to analyse it, prepare the document, because you have to put a lot of technical details.

“Before September 14th the FIA will reply to each bidder, saying if the bidder is eligible for supplying the tyres or not. I hope we are eligible after eight years in F1!

"Obviously this is a normal procedure. After that what is called Phase 2, and Phase 2 is the commercial agreement with F1.

“It is complicated, because there are a lot of details, not only in terms of degradation. Degradation is the most visible, but there is a lot about working range, there is a lot about peak of performance, stiffness characteristics of the tyres.

“There are a lot of details in the target letter, and we are happy to have the target letter, because at least it’s a shared document with everybody where we agree and we follow what is written.

"On the technical side, yes, it’s challenging, 18 inches, no blankets, there is a lot.”

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper