Pirelli has confirmed that it has no intention of ending its involvement in the World Rally Championship should it prove to be successful with its application to re-enter the Formula One arena next season.
The Italian tyre company last week revealed that it was to perform a U-turn on previously stated claims that it had no interest in replacing Bridgestone for 2011, but its confirmation sparked concern among WRC competitors, who feared that relationships built up in recent years would be ended at a stroke. Adding to the fears is the fact that Pirelli is in the final year of a three-year deal to supply control tyres to the WRC and the 'junior' championships running under its umbrella, but a company spokesman insists that its backing for rallying remains strong.
"We currently have no intention of leaving the WRC," he told Autoweek
, pointing out that Pirelli had tendered for another three-year WRC deal, "We consider both projects entirely separately and evaluate them both on their individual values and benefits."
Pirelli last raced in F1 in 1991, but has confirmed that it will rival expected bids from Michelin and Cooper/Avon to replace Bridgestone as official supplier to the top flight after Michelin proposed a move to 18-inch rims common to its sportscar programme.