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F1 tyre tender “more complicated” as Pirelli faces Bridgestone competition

Pirelli says Formula 1’s tyre tender process for 2025 is “more complicated” than in the past, as it looks set to face competition from Bridgestone.

Pirelli tyres and wheels outside of the Alpine garage

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The FIA recently opened the tender for the F1 tyre contract from 2025 to 2027, with an option for it to be extended by another year.

Last week the selection process moved on to its second stage, as F1's governing body completed its evaluation of applicants and selected approved bidders.

It is understood that Pirelli and Japanese manufacturer Bridgestone have been chosen to go forward.

While there has been no formal confirmation from the FIA about Bridgestone’s bid, Pirelli is aware that it faces competition for the future F1 deal.

And while it beat rival Hankook to secure the last tyre tender from 2020 to 2023 (which was subsequently extended by one year), Pirelli’s F1 chief Mario Isola has explained why the battle to win this contract will be so much more difficult.

“What I can tell you is that the tender document was a lot more complicated than in the past,” explained Isola. “There are many sections and many elements added compared to the last one we applied for.

"There is a big part linked to sustainability, a big part linked to our ability to supply a product with certain characteristics, and a service with certain characteristics, a number of engineers. We had to work quite a lot to get all the papers needed for that.”

The F1 process to pick the future tyre supplier will be based on consideration from the FIA about the technical and sporting aspects of the tyres, as well as commercial considerations from F1.

Pirelli believes that one factor that should not be overlooked about its involvement in the championship is the way that it has worked hard to become a partner of the series, and helped F1’s chiefs to deliver what has been requested.

As well as track and race sponsorship, Pirelli has been active in F1’s Fan Zone areas as well as helping create the Pirelli Hot Laps experience.

Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Mario Isola, Racing Manager, Pirelli Motorsport

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Isola added: “In these 13 years, we always try to do our best to fulfil the requests we had in different years.

“From 2011 there were high degradation tyres, then we had different power units, and the wider tyre, to the 18-inches. Then more degradation, and then less degradation. We always adapted our product to the different requests.

“On top of that, we have been very active on the promotion side and marketing side, supporting all the requests from the promoter and from the FIA.

“I believe that our role is the role of a partner more than a sponsor. And we would like to be like this.

“We want to be part of the sport not because we want to dictate anything, but because it means that we cooperate in a good way with our stakeholders, plus talking to the drivers and talking to the teams.

“We have built a system that is super-efficient, to supply data to them. I was comparing a report that we did in 2011 with a report we do now and it's incredible [the difference]. You will laugh at the one page we provided in 2011 compared to the book that we provide now.

“All of this is sometimes taken for granted, because when you do that step-by-step, you don't realize how much you have done in this long period.”

Asked if going up against a major company like Bridgestone changed anything for Pirelli’s bid, Isola said: “To be honest, I don't know their approach so I cannot comment on that.

“We don't know who is the competitor. Rumours are rumours and I know that formally we don't know. If it is a different competitor, then probably they have a different approach.”

Bridgestone has so far chosen not to elaborate on its bid to win the F1 tyre tender contract.

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