Ford has signed an agreement with tyre manufacturer Pirelli to use the Italian company's rubber on the official Ford Focus World Rally Cars competing in next year's FIA World Rally Championship. The agreement lasts for three years and means that...
Ford has signed an agreement with tyre manufacturer Pirelli to use the Italian company's rubber on the official Ford Focus World Rally Cars competing in next year's FIA World Rally Championship. The agreement lasts for three years and means that Ford will use Pirelli tyres at least until the end of 2003.
The agreement brings to an end Ford's long-term rallying relationship with French tyre supplier Michelin.
Ford's contracted drivers for 2001, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz, both have wide experience of Pirelli tyres. Indeed, when Pirelli last won the world drivers' championship in 1995, it was McRae who took the honours. On the previous two occasions, in 1990 and 1992, it was Sainz.
The agreement renews a link between the two companies forged during the 1980s when Ford used Pirelli tyres in world championship rallying. Indeed (ironically), one of the team's drivers during that period was current Ford Martini team director Malcolm Wilson.
"We're very much looking forward to linking up with Pirelli," said Wilson. "It has a highly successful career in motorsport, particularly in world championship rallying, and both Colin and Carlos have won world titles in partnership with the company. Both our drivers have considerable experience of working with Pirelli's engineers and it's a relationship that we see working very well.
"Testing on Pirelli tyres will begin immediately after the Rally of Great Britain, the final round of this year's championship, to ensure the drivers and the team as a whole have the maximum time to adapt before the start of the 2001 championship in Monte Carlo in January.
"During the past eight seasons the Ford team has enjoyed considerable success with Michelin, whose professionalism and hard work have been exemplary. We would like to place on record our thanks to everyone involved in the rally programme and we know we can rely on the company's full support during the remaining five rallies in our quest for world championship success this season," added Wilson.