As we get closer to the award of the tire supplier contract for Formula 1, Pirelli has been relatively vocal of late buttressing their financial and engineering investment in the series. They’ve been delightfully happy with their investment in F1 without sounding slightly pleased. It’s all in the way you spin the machine and who wants to sound like they’re wetting themselves over the opportunity when a new contract negotiation is due? Especially when the crafty veteran, Mr. Ecclestone, is involved?
No, Pirelli have had their share of slight backhanded commentaries on F1 over the years but also offered the notion…hey, if it wasn’t great for us, we wouldn’t do it…type of qualifier. Fair enough, I don’t think I would say much more than that really.
Now we come to the end of the road and Pirelli are starting to sound a little more desperate of late. Even sharing general investment ranges with fans as Paul Hembery said:
“It was a big decision for us, it’s very expensive.
“You have to bear in mind we are a sponsor as well as a technical supplier, and our overall costs are far greater than a normal sponsor.
“It would be far better for us to just go and do some trackside advertising and sip a bottle of champagne every weekend. That would cost probably a third of what it costs now.
“That’s the problem people don’t understand our net costs of being present.
“We don’t get anything from the commercial rights holder, so our net cost is greater than [everyone] except the engine manufacturers.
“You could certainly run an F1 team on our budget.”
Sure, they are at least spending $50-100 million on their program given the cost to run a back marker team. They were a sponsor and now a supplier so their investment is more and that must account for something right? At least that seems to be the point here.
It amounts to something for me, Mr. Hembery, because I have Pirelli’s on my cars. Whether it amounts to something for Mr. Ecclestone or not, well I humbly submit that it boils down to the highest bidder with the most innovative and lucrative approach for F1. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in a $4 million regulatory fee to grease the FIA for the hassle of controlling your tire spec and their assistance in, you know…whatever.
It seems to me that Pirelli would be the most favored supplier because Michelin says they will only play if the FIA and F1 allow for some changes such as bigger tires and wheels such as 18″ rims. They want durable tires instead of high degradation tires and F1 looks to be intent on keeping this construct around. At least that is what Mr. E has said lately.
So how has Pirelli done? Do you feel it is time to change tire suppliers and specifications? Keep in mind that Pirelli could match any change in spec so it comes down to if Pirelli have been a lucrative partner for F1 and vice versa. Or would you rather see Michelin have a shot at the supply contract?
Stick with the evil you know or go all crazy and bring in a new tire provider? What’s your choice?
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT