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Pirelli explains decision to leave WRC as tyre supplier

Pirelli has shed more light on its decision to leave the World Rally Championship as control tyre supplier at the end of the 2024 campaign.

Pirelli tires

Photo by: M-Sport

The WRC is set to change its control rubber from 2025 after Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli announced last Friday that it had chosen not to submit a bid in response to the FIA’s 2025-2027 tyre tender. 

Pirelli won the previous tender supplying tyres to all WRC categories from 2021-2024, returning to rallying’s top level for the first time since 2010. 

Motorsport.com understands Michelin, MRF and Hankook are in the running to secure the WRC tyre contract, beginning from 2025.

Alongside its WRC commitments, Pirelli has supplied tyres to Formula 1 since 2011 and is expected to retain that contract after the FIA announced an F1 tyre tender in April.

When asked by Motorsport.com to elaborate on its call not to continue in WRC, Pirelli boss Mario Isola revealed that cost saving was not part of the decision. He also reiterated that the company will continue to develop products for rallying.    

“No, [cost saving was] not really [part of the decision] because we have a team dedicated to WRC and we believe in this period we got what we wanted in terms of being a part of the sport in the top class,” said Isola.

“We will continue to put our resources in ERC and national championships and the team that is looking after WRC and rally in general is not the same team we have for Formula 1. 

Grégoire Munster, Louis Louka, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta Rally2

Grégoire Munster, Louis Louka, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta Rally2

Photo by: M-Sport

“We will continue to develop products for rally because that is really relevant for our technology transfer on snow, ice and gravel, so we want to be involved in rallying. We are expanding our activity on historic rallies and some other championships. 

“Obviously we cannot be everywhere and we have to make choices. I believe this period was good to come back to WRC after quite a long period, as last the time we were supplying WRC cars was 2010. 

“After 10 years it was a good exercise to come back for this period to show our brand at the highest level of WRC and now we want to concentrate on other ways.”

Pressed on whether there is a finite time to be involved in a motorsport championship, he replied: “Every championship is different. Formula 1, I believe you need a lot of time to generate this association between the brand and the championship probably because also the spectators are different. 

“In rally there are a niche of spectators that are very passionate. In four years you can tell them whatever you want basically. 

“In F1 it is a different audience and to put in the mind of the people that you are supplier and you are there and that you develop the top technology, takes much longer time.”

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