Pirelli CEO and chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera says that the company’s new involvement in F1 will in effect not cost anything, because the 13 teams are paying.
In addition the company is scaling back other motor sport activities, notably the WRC. That will help to release funds for F1 and create capacity at Pirelli’s motor sport facility in Turkey, where the F1 tyres will be built.
“The experience of our people has been growing,” said Provera today. “And in the last few years we organised in Turkey an investment, which is dedicated to motor sport, where we have competencies and a willingness to do better and better. We will supply starting next year F1, and we have this opportunity thanks to the fact the world is changing.
“F1 understands also the problem of suppliers, and we have been able to reach an agreement to serve F1 with what they need in terms of tyres, and they have been helpful with us, the different teams, paying us for the service.
“At the end of the day for us, the cost, taking into account all items, will be zero compared to our budget. The advertising campaign which is linked to F1 will be switched from other races where we reduce our presence. First of all for rallying, where there are new rules starting next year. We were the only supplier, and there will be staring next year different suppliers, so we will definitely reduce and w will move these investments to F1. We will reduce our budget on other races, and we will be fully dedicated to F1.
“This for us a great challenge, a great opportunity, and we have already dedicated a specific team to this task.
“The capacity we have in place is enough to serve F1. As I mentioned we will switch from other categories to F1, so no need to change anything.”
Provera denied that Pirelli had any problems with Jean Todt, despite the FIA President apparently favouring Michelin’s bid: “There’s no issue between us and FIA. I personally spoke with Jean Todt, he knows that we are committed to this, and he also mentioned the commitment of FIA in order to make our life normal and easy to be ready for the first F1 race of next season.”
Maurizio Boiocchi, Head of R&D, said that F1 tyre development is already well under way.
“We have already met FOTA, the organisation for the teams, in order to clarify and have all the details in terms of technical information needed to develop and supply tyres accordingly with their request. We have simulations and calculations in line with their expectations so we have started already developing our tyres.”
He added that the move to 18ins rims for 2013 is still on the agenda, but has yet to be confirmed: “This is not only in our hands, we have to develop pros and cons, relating tyre and vehicle technologies, in order to match data and development times.”
Boiocchi denied that Pirelli has done a deal with Toyota for the provision of a test car.
“We have several offers. This is one, more or less available on the market. This does not mean that we will use it, because we have other options.”
He suggested that the first tests could be done with a GP2 car, since Pirelli is also developing new tyres for the junior category.
“After this quite soon we will have a discussion with the teams in order to see what could be the first and the best opportunity to have confidence about our development and their needs in terms of the 2011 championship. This has also to be agreed with the FIA, because as you know this is not allowed formally from the rules of today.”