In a surprising twist of events for rally enthusiasts around the globe, Pirelli, the current official tire supplier for all categories within the World Rally Championship (WRC), has decided not to throw its hat into the ring for the 2025-2027 tender. This move marks a significant shift in the world of WRC tires and opens up exciting possibilities for the future of rally racing.
Pirelli secured its position as the official tire supplier for the WRC back in 2019, winning the coveted contract from the FIA. This deal encompassed the tire supply for the years 2021 to 2024, spanning the final season of the WRC’s previous generation car and the initial three seasons under the innovative Rally1 hybrid regulations.
However, with the current tender set to expire at the close of 2024, the FIA initiated a fresh WRC tire tender in July, inviting tire brands from around the world to express their interest in becoming the exclusive tire provider for the championship. This new tire contract will span from 2025 to 2027, coinciding with the anticipated introduction of new regulations in the WRC.
Pirelli had hinted at the possibility of submitting a proposal in a recent interview with F1 Flow.com. Still, in a surprising twist, the Italian tire giant has officially declared that it will not be in the running for the 2025-2027 tire supply contract. A statement released by Pirelli stated, “Pirelli has not submitted its candidature to supply the FIA World Rally Championship from 2025-2027.” This means that Pirelli’s partnership as the sole supplier of tires to the WRC will conclude in 2024.
However, it’s important to note that Pirelli remains committed to the world of rallying. The company has pledged to continue its participation in all other rally competitions where it is currently involved. This includes the European Rally Championship, also organized by WRC Promoter. In fact, Hayden Paddon clinched the championship title in a Pirelli-equipped Hyundai, competing against rivals using tires from Michelin, MRF Tyres, and Hankook.
So, what’s next for the WRC’s tire supply? As reported earlier this week, Michelin is expected to throw its hat into the ring, alongside Indian tire manufacturer MRF. Michelin has a history with the WRC, having supplied tires from 2011 to 2020 before briefly being joined by DMACK. However, DMACK exited the championship scene at the end of 2017, leaving the door wide open for new contenders.
The FIA is poised to announce the successful applicant for the 2025-2027 tire contract on October 19th. The FIA’s criteria for potential tire suppliers are stringent, emphasizing the importance of safety, reliability, and equal sporting capabilities for all competitors across various technical categories and conditions.
Applicants are required to present at least two specifications of gravel and tarmac tires, a snow (studded) tire, and a tarmac winter tire, with the latter available in both studded and non-studded variants. These requirements reflect the diverse and challenging conditions encountered in WRC competitions, where tire performance can make or break a team’s success.
Furthermore, tire suppliers must demonstrate a high resistance to punctures and the ability to offer strategic options in terms of tire compounds. In essence, the WRC’s new tire supplier must deliver tires that can withstand the rigorous demands of rally racing and enhance the sporting experience for all competitors.
As the countdown to the FIA’s decision continues, rally fans and teams alike await with bated breath to see who will step into Pirelli’s shoes and become the tire provider for the next era of the World Rally Championship. One thing’s for sure: the future of WRC tires is bound to be as thrilling as the races themselves, with the potential for innovation and excitement around every bend.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about WRC tire supplier
What is the significance of Pirelli not bidding for the 2025-2027 WRC tire contract?
Pirelli’s decision not to bid for the 2025-2027 WRC tire contract is significant as it opens the door for new tire suppliers in the World Rally Championship. Pirelli has been the exclusive tire provider, so this change may bring fresh competition and innovations to the sport.
Who is expected to compete for the new WRC tire contract?
Michelin, a former WRC tire supplier, is expected to submit a bid for the 2025-2027 contract. Additionally, Indian tire manufacturer MRF is also anticipated to be in the running, adding to the excitement of potential new tire options for WRC teams.
What criteria must tire suppliers meet to secure the WRC contract?
The FIA, governing body of the WRC, has set stringent criteria for tire suppliers. They must demonstrate the safety, reliability, and equal sporting capabilities of their tires for all competitors across various technical categories and conditions. Additionally, suppliers must provide multiple tire specifications for gravel, tarmac, snow, and tarmac winter conditions, emphasizing resistance to punctures and strategic options.
When will the FIA announce the successful applicant for the 2025-2027 WRC tire contract?
The FIA is scheduled to reveal the chosen tire supplier for the 2025-2027 WRC season on October 19th. Rally fans and teams are eagerly awaiting this decision, as it will shape the future of tire technology in the sport.
What other rally competitions will Pirelli continue to participate in despite not bidding for the WRC contract?
Pirelli remains committed to rallying and will continue to participate in other rally competitions. This includes the European Rally Championship, where Pirelli-equipped vehicles have seen success, showcasing the brand’s dedication to rally racing beyond the WRC.
More about WRC tire supplier
- Official WRC Website – The official website of the World Rally Championship for the latest news and updates.
- FIA – The website of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body for motorsport, including the WRC.
- Pirelli – Visit Pirelli’s official website for information on their tire products and involvement in motorsports.
- Michelin – Explore Michelin’s tire offerings and history as a former WRC tire supplier.
- MRF Tyres – Learn more about MRF Tyres, the Indian tire manufacturer expected to bid for the WRC contract.
- European Rally Championship – The official website of the European Rally Championship where Pirelli remains involved in rally competitions.