Pirelli has become the first tyre manufacturer to publicly state that it is not
interested in replacing Bridgestone as the official supplier to the F1 World Championship from 2011.
Bridgestone announced on Monday that it will not be renewing its contract to provide rubber to the top flight's competitors after it expires at the end of next season [see separate story – click here
] – a move that will bring down the curtain on a relationship that began with just five teams in 1997, and expanded to take in the entire grid in 2007 following rival Michelin's premature withdrawal in the wake of the Indianapolis débâcle two years earlier.
That has left F1 desperately seeking a new tyre partner, and with Pirelli's proclaimed disinterest and the unlikelihood of Michelin returning following the infamous US Grand Prix episode – when governing body the FIA refused to allow eleventh-hour alterations to be made to the track layout following a series of dangerous failures and accidents for cars fitted with the French company's rubber in practice and qualifying – the options are narrowing.
“Pirelli's previous position on F1 hasn't changed,” a spokeswoman for the Italian organisation told Reuters
. “Pirelli prefers to develop tyres for racing that will also be used on the road. Pirelli sponsors Superbikes (BSB and WSBK), the World Rally Championship and GT2.”
Other names mentioned in connection with assuming Bridgestone's F1 responsibilities have been Goodyear, Dunlop, Kumho, Avon, Hankook and Continental. To have your say on who will most likely step into the breach, click here