While our focus, rightly, will be on how well Pirelli goes about supplying tires for the 2011 Formula 1 season (and beyond), there is another key piece to the news that the Italian tire maker will be F1’s supplier.
What’s it mean for Pirelli?
In its release on the news, I think Pirelli captures things pretty succinctly here:
Pirelli is planning to make important investments in corporate communications, in order to make the most of the high profile and cutting-edge technology that go hand in hand with supplying Formula One, using resources and budget that has already been set aside for this purpose.
This communications campaign will principally help to support Pirelliâ€™s increasing profile in emerging markets: Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, which are all areas frequently visted by Formula One.
Consequently Formula One will become a vital calling card for the Pirelli brand, helping its commercial and industrial expansion without disrupting the companyâ€™s long-term financial strategy.
In my mind, this is something that has been missing from the Bridgestone relationship with F1. I know the logos are everywhere, but beyond that I’m not sure how much it was getting out of its deal with F1.
The team further says this:
The global visibility guaranteed through extensive media interest in Formula One, together with dynamic plans to leverage Pirelliâ€™s involvement in an activity central to the companyâ€™s core business, represents a unique opportunity for the brand to maximise its return on investment.
Yeah, it’s a bit of corporate gobbly-gook, but you get the idea. It appears that Pirelli recognizes it has a real opportunity here. And as we are coming out of an economic downturn, businesses tend to be a bit more strategic in these moments. We all haven’t fattened up yet and forgotten that hard times can happen.
So I’m anticipating we’ll be seeing more Pirelli than we’ve seen Bridgestone. I really do believe this is an opportunity for Pirelli to cement its status as a performance tire maker.
But on to the track. Pirelli gives us a little taste of what’s to come where the rubber meets the road:
Following current Formula One regulations laid down by world motorsportâ€™s governing body, the FIA, the new contract ensures that Pirelli will provide teams with six different types of tyre for the season: four slicks, with different compounds for various types of dry surfaces, one rain tyre for heavy rain, and one intermediate tyre for damp conditions or light rain.
The current economic climate has led to a realistic and collaborative approach with all the teams, ensuring that manufacturing and logistical costs are shared fairly.
Pirelliâ€™s return to Formula One also has a firm eye on the future, as in full collaboration with all the teams, research into innovative new tyre developments is a vital part of this exciting programme.
Again, I think the economic downturn may have its impact here. At the beginning, at least, the company is going to be grounded in some realistic expectations — and I hope that translates to a productive relationship with the teams that leads to a tire that produces good racing.