[New Pirelli F1 deal to be announced next week
Pirelli, which is currently managing tyre concerns at this weekend’s Qatar GP, had been expected by paddock insiders to win the tender for some weeks, and the deal has now been ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which was the final step in a process that had been running since March.
Having been out of F1 since 2010 Bridgestone put a propsal forward and along with incumbent Pirelli the Japanese company passed the first stage of the process, which was approval of its technical capabilities by the FIA.
It then passed to Stefano Domenicali and the Formula 1 organisation for consideration of the commercial package, which includes elements such as track signage and title sponsorship of grands prix.
The tender contract, which covers the 2025 to 2027 seasons with an option for 2028, was more complex than previous iterations.
It includes supply of the FIA F2 and F3 championships within one package, as well as a substantial sustainability element.
Bridgestone is known to have made a hefty commercial offer, and at one stage it was thought to have a serious chance of stealing the deal from its Italian rival.
But Pirelli also had a strong package that ultimately convinced Domenicali to stick with the known quantity.
One of the biggest challenges faced by Bridgestone was the need to create a tyre for the current cars to use in 2025, and then a completely different product for the 2026 regulations.
Bridgestone tyres. Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday 23 September 2010.
Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith
It would also have to create tyres that operate without blankets, with the FIA still keen to outlaw them from 2025.
That technical challenge, combined with question marks over how its initial test programme would work with teams concerned about rivals participating and potentially gaining an advantage of knowledge of the new tyres, contributed to making Pirelli’s case to continue stronger.
Pirelli has made it clear the new contract period is set to be its last. Having been the supplier for 18 years from 2011 to 2028 it will walk away from F1 with little more to achieve in terms of building its brand.
That means F1 will look for a new partner for 2029 and beyond, which will give Bridgestone and other candidates an opportunity to bid knowing that they are not competing with an established incumbent.