From Tire Review
After settling into the driver’s seat as the new exclusive tire supplier for Formula One, Pirelli Tire has withdrawn its place as the lone supplier for the World Rally Championships.
Pirelli will finish out the season as the WRC’s tire supplier, and its current three-year contract ends at the close of the 2010 season. Rumors say that Groupe Michelin has expressed interest in taking over the WRC tire deal.
Not surprising, the tiremaker’s departure with the WRC which is administered by FIA was not without some controversy.
“The first point to make here is the way the rules have been changed,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport magazine. “There have been three significant rule changes in the last nine months and, possibly, an even more significant change coming in 2012. In December, we tendered for another three-year deal to supply tires for WRC. Once again, our tender was set out to provide finance for continued investment in the FIA, in the sport’s promoter and, of course in the Pirelli Star Driver scheme, which we financed from its inception in 2008.
“That three-year tender was rejected and we were offered a one-year extension on the same terms as the current three-year deal, then a one-year deal on the new tender conditions that was something we felt was unacceptable,” he told the magazine.
“And now we come to the current regulation, which we feel is neither a control tire scenario or competition. And, based on the experiences we have had in GT racing, where regulations similar to those in the WRC were open to interpretation and were flexible if a [tire] manufacturer was having some difficulties. We explained those issues [to the FIA] and we have had no significant response. These rules leave a lot to be desired and we have communicated these limitations to the FIA.”