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Pirelli: We've only had positive feedback

14 January 2013

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has revealed that the company is looking to prolong its role as F1's exclusive tyre supplier, but realises that there will come a time when its involvement ceases to be beneficial.

Speaking to F1Fanatic over the weekend, Hembery admitted that Pirelli was pleased with the positive response it had received over the first three years of its return, but acknowledged that it needed to continue working at the relationship if that mood – and the company's role - is to continue.

"Any competitor will know very clearly [that] we have a three-year deal, so they will have had ample opportunity to raise their hands if they're interested [in coming into F1],” he noted.

"Our point of view is that we'll have to speak to the promoter, because a major part of our investment return comes from trackside visibility of our brand. So we'll have to make sure we have an agreement with the promoter. And then you have to find an agreement with all the eleven teams. At the moment, we've only ever had compliments and positive feedback from the teams and the promoter is very keen for us to continue."

Revealing that there is no desire to match its products against a rival brand in the top flight, Hembery explained that every involvement has its natural limits before the beancounters could decide to pull the plug.

"Three years is not enough [but], over ten years, there's maybe less value added each year that you continue because the public perceives that you are in F1,” he reasoned,
"When we were last in F1 in the Nineties, it took four or five years before people realised we weren't in it any more. You have to create momentum [but], once you've got it, it carries on many years after you leave the sport.”

Taking on the likes of Bridgestone and Michelin, however, has no appeal for Pirelli.

"Even when you're winning as a tyre maker, unfortunately it's the driver and the car that's 'winning',” Hembery explained, “If you lose, as the tyre maker, it's always your fault. It's a strange paradox, [but] you can't actually convey to the public when you're a winning tyre maker because it's not a tyre championship.”

Pirelli will introduce a third generation of its PZero rubber for the 2013 season, having give the teams a brief taste of what to expect during opening practice for last year's finale in Brazil.


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