Pirelli racing manager Mario Isola admitted that the multinational company based in Milan would be ready to compete with another tyre manufacturer in Formula One but at the same time has warned against the cost a tyre war would generate. Pirelli has been Formula 1’s official tyre supplier since the start of the 2011 championship, as the sport last had two tyre suppliers back in 2006 where Bridgestone and Michelin competed against each other.
“If they decide to come back to this situation as we said in the past, we are ready to face also this new challenge” – Mario Isola said, as reported by ESPN earlier today – “It is a new challenge because if you’re a sole supplier you have some targets. You supply the same tyres to everybody so you can have a tyre with high degradation, with different targets. If we are in competition with our tyre supplier the target is just performance. It is clear. It’s like for teams. Their target is safety for sure but safety is a target, it’s always there, it’s always a priority but after that it’s just performance.” – he added.
Cost cutting and cost caps have dominated the teams’ agendas since the arrival of Liberty Media and Isola believes having two tyre manufacturers in the sport would go against this and thus increase costs significantly: “The direction of Formula One is still to have one supplier.” – Mario Isola explained – “Obviously what is changing quickly but the single supplier is saving money for everybody. If you introduce, again, what they call the ”tyre war” or multiple suppliers you have to consider that in the past it was necessary to have additional test sessions or in the past the teams had a proper tyre test team and obviously this means additional costs. If they want to reduce the cost, this is probably not the right direction.” – the Pirelli racing manager concluded.
Formula 1 recently confirmed at the German Grand Prix that it would be switching to 18-inch tyres from the 2021 season.