Bridgestone tipped for F1 return – in 2029

Tue, 10 October 2023, 09:00

Oct.10 (GMM) Bridgestone is tipped to return to Formula 1 – but only in 2029.

Earlier this year, the sport’s governing body launched a tender process to determine the next contract to supply all F1 teams with tyres until 2027, with an option for an additional year after that.

Former F1 supplier Bridgestone joined the process, but in the Qatar paddock last weekend it emerged unofficially that Pirelli had in fact secured another deal.

“Formula 1 bosses decided against Bridgestone’s application,” Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt now reports.

“The official announcement should take place in the week after the Qatar GP.”

It is believed that while both Pirelli and Bridgestone were approved by the FIA and forwarded on for commercial talks, F1 ultimately decided that it was the Italian company that was better suited for the forthcoming tyre blanket ban and the 2026 move to smaller and lighter tyres.

Schmidt, however, believes Pirelli will have to pay more for the deal, as Bridgestone “set the bar high” in the commercial talks.

“Pirelli is said to be set to pay $20 million more into the Formula 1 coffers,” he said. “Additionally, the teams only have to pay half as much for the service – $750,000 instead of 1.5 million per year.

“To free up money for Formula 1, Pirelli recently announced its withdrawal from the World Rally Championship,” Schmidt added.

He also claims: “There are rumours that Pirelli wants to call it a day after 2028 and leave the field to Bridgestone.”

Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola said earlier this year: “It’s never an easy decision because we invest a lot of resources and money in Formula 1. But we are happy with the results so far.

“13 years is a long period and to continue for another three, four years is also a bigger commitment, but the sport is very healthy. We are happy with the current situation.

“We are happy to play our part in the sport and to follow the requests that are coming from drivers, teams, the FIA and F1, to have a sport that is even better if possible,” Isola added.

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