MILAN, Italy (Sept. 3, 2010)—Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. has elected to not compete next year in the World Rally Championship, where it was the exclusive race tire supplier for the past three seasons, but the company said it expects to be active in rally racing in some form or another.
Pirelli Tyre is devoting considerable resources to its new contracts to supply the international Formula 1 and GP2 series for the coming three seasons.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, the governing body for WRC, F1 and GP2, recently changed the rules covering tire supply for the WRC, allowing open competition among tire makers for the 2011 season.
Companies wishing to participate had until Sept. 1 to submit bids; the FIA will publish a list of nominated companies no later than Sept. 15. Pirelli originally indicated in late June it would continue to support the WRC next year, but now has changed its mind.
The new regulations set maximum prices on tires as well as quantity limits per team per event for 2011. The quantities of tires permitted will drop by 15 to 20 percent in 2012 and 2013, the FIA said.
These changes were adopted to “respect parity between teams and avoid any increase in cost,” the FIA said. Tires will be bar coded and allocated to a particular driver under a random selection system controlled by the FIA.
In announcing the change, the FIA said the decision “reflects a desire to have greater association with road-relevant technologies, environmental sustainability in motor sport, while maintaining cost control.”
Pirelli motorsports director Paul Hembery emphasized that Pirelli will continue to be involved in rallying but did not elaborate further. The tire maker this past year also competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, a series started in 2008 as an alternative to the WRC, and in various national/regional championships.