Pirelli quizzed on Bridgestone rival rumours with ‘more complicated’ tyre tender in effect

Sam Cooper
Pirelli motorsrport director Mario Isola. Hungary July 2022.

Mario Isola, Pirelli motorsport director, walks through the paddock. Budapest July 2022.

Pirelli’s Mario Isola has suggested the document to apply to be F1’s tyre supplier is “more complicated” than before as a reported bidding war gets underway.

Pirelli have been the sole F1 tyre supplier since 2011 but their supremacy is set to be challenged as Bridgestone enters the race.

The Japanese company, who last supplied tyres in the 2010 season, have reportedly entered a bid to the FIA for the contract to supply tyres between 2025 and 2027 with an option of a further year.

But it appears to be a difficult task with F1 tyre suppliers now involved far more than just on a production front, instead there are significant commercial and marketing aspects to be considered.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Isola has revealed what was required for the tender document which was submitted a short while ago.

“What I can tell you is that the tender document was a lot more complicated than in the past,” Isola said, as per Motorsport.com. “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.”

Pirelli also plays a big role in the sponsorship of F1 with the Italian company being the title sponsor of both the Canadian and Italian grands prix.

But there is always criticism of a tyre supplier with fans wanting a compound that degrades quicker and therefore makes for more exciting races, while teams and drivers would prefer the opposite.

Isola said Pirelli want to be part of the sport and not solely on a tyre supplying front.

“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,” he said.

“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.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Train like a F1 driver: An eye-opening experience into the insane fitness levels needed

Ranked: Which driver will end Red Bull’s winning streak? Alonso, Hamilton and more

“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 realise how much you have done in this long period.”

As for Bridgestone’s reported submission, Isola said he knew nothing of it.

“We don’t know who is the competitor,” he said. “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.”