Pirelli is close to winning the battle to replace Bridgestone as F1's sole tyre-supplier from 2011, Italian media are claiming, with reports that the Milan-based manufacturer has now been given the nod by both the top flight's teams and the sport's influential commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.
According to Autosprint
, Pirelli will receive €1 million per team per year for each of the next three seasons, and for that will cater to all of the competitors equally with a range of soft, medium and hard-compound tyres. The current 13-inch spec will remain for the time being, before ultimately switching to lower-profile rims.
Also understood to be part of the deal is for Pirelli to similarly supply the feeder GP2 Series, in addition to its existing commitments to the all-new GP3 category and World Rally Championship. Despite the fact that the company was last involved in F1 almost two decades ago back in 1991, it has seemingly beaten off rival bids from the likes of Michelin, Avon Cooper, Kumho and Hankook and is shortly due to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council – though not everybody is convinced it is the right choice.
“As an Italian I prefer Pirelli, but experience tells me Michelin,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “In the end, it will be the same for everyone.”