Following today’s FIA World Motorsport Meeting in Bahrain, the governing body has revealed plans to open Formula 1’s sole tyre supply tender for the 2025 to 2027 (inclusive) periods.
Pirelli holds the current contract which expires at end-2024 after being extended a year in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, having taken over as supplier from Bridgestone in 2011. The brand is currently in its third contract.
RacingNews365 understands that the current dimensions will be retained for the 2025 season, the last under the current technical regulations, with an option to change tyre width from 2026 albeit retaining the current 18-inch rim diameter.
This decision will fall in mid-2024 in consultation with F1 commercial rights holder FOM and all teams, taking into account the significant increase in torque under 2026-30’s hybrid power unit regulations, which specify an approximate 50/50 split between internal combustion and electrification for the 900bhp PUs: well up from the current 80/20 ratio.
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The decision to retain current tyre dimensions for 2025 is logical but hands Pirelli an advantage over other potential suppliers as these would need to provide tyres to the current specification for a year before gearing up for 2026’s regulations. A similar overlap in 2019/20 is said to have blown Hankook out of contention for the prevailing 2019-2024 tender - the Korean company was willing to develop one dimension, but not two.
Although the new tender specifies a three-year term - 2025-27 - the successful supplier will be given the option to extend a year, which will, though, mean the 2028-onwards contract will again overlap unless it is for two years only. It remains a mystery that supply contracts do not chime with regulatory windows.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the 2025-onwards tender is expected to specify electronic tyre identification with provision for ‘smart’ connectivity to relay information for team data and TV broadcast purposes. Blankets are also expected to be banned - subject to satisfactory tests unheated tyres, failing which some element of electronic pressure control will be mandated.
As in the past it is anticipated that the FIA will sift applications for technical, sporting and logistics competence before providing a shortlist of qualifying candidates to FOM for commercial negotiations. Thus, the final decision will be FOM’s provided that the selected brand complies with FIA requirements.
A Pirelli spokesperson confirmed to RacingNews365 that the Italian brand will seek another term as sole supplier, saying, “We can confirm that we will tender again for the new 2025-onwards supply contract, having enjoyed three highly successful terms to date.”
Michelin and Hankook are also expected to express an interest, as in the past.