Mat Coch writes:
Pirelli is set to remain the official tyre supplier of Formula One until 2018, sources have revealed.
Last week the FIA's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) handed down a number of decisions impacting Formula One, including the provisional 2014 calendar.
One of the outcomes was to transfer the tyre tender process from the FIA to Formula One Management, confirming Pirelli would remain the sole supplier in the interim. The decision leaves the commercial rights holder free to decide upon future contracts in line with the Concorde Agreement, distancing the governing body from any perceived bias in a tender process or related commercial agreement.
The WMSC statement read: "Pirelli may continue to supply tyres to competitors in the FIA F1 World Championship, subject to the requisite technical and safety standards of the FIA being met."
Curiously the statement did not specify the duration the agreement with Pirelli, which many took to suggest meant a simple one-year extension. Pitpass however has learnt that Pirelli's new agreement will see it remain as the sport's official tyre supplier until the end of the 2018 season.
Pirelli has been lobbying for a new deal behind closed doors for much of the year, the company's motor sport boss Paul Hembery claiming he was hoping to have a new supply contract signed as far back as February. Background politicking however slowed matters, as did a spate of 'failures' which cast the company in a negative light.
During the first part of the season there were concerns over the integrity of the Pirelli tyres as teams suffered a number of failures, most notably at the British Grand Prix. Since then teams have been forced to operate within guidelines set by the Italian manufacturer which, together with changes to the construction of the tyre since Hungary, have resulted in a significant decrease in the number of tyre related issues.
Meanwhile the Italian firm had negotiated and signed contracts with each of the eleven teams and FOM whilst also securing trackside advertising for the coming season, effectively giving the FIA no choice but to renew its contract.
The new five-year deal means the first FOM led tender process would not commence until some point in early 2018 ahead of any new supply arrangement from the following year.
It also provides stability for the sport in a period of significant technical changes and allows Pirelli the ability to begin testing and developing its new range of tyres confident in its long-term future.