Above: Mario Isola, head of car racing for Pirelli Motorsport, and Sean Bratches, Formula 1 managing director of commercial operations.
Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola says the tire manufacturer has shown it trusts Liberty Media to successfully negotiate new deals with the Formula 1 teams by signing its own long-term contract.
The bilateral agreements between the teams and F1’s commercial rights holder are due to expire at the end of 2020, and are seen as particularly challenging due to Liberty’s desire to change the way revenues are distributed and introduce a budget cap in future. Despite that uncertainty, Pirelli was confirmed as the sport’s tire supplier until 2023 late last year and Isola says it would not have re-signed had there been serious doubts about new agreements being reached.
“There are so many discussions on the future of Formula 1, the new cars of 2021, and the change of [tire] size and so on that I’m optimistic,” Isola said. “There are a lot of discussions around that. I think that it’s normal in Formula 1 when you have such a big change like the renewal of the agreement amongst teams and FOM that it’s a delicate situation, but we’re happy that we committed for a long period on our side.
“It’s even better to have a long period because we can plan everything in a different way because we have five years in front of us and not only three. I don’t think — and I hope it doesn’t happen — that in two years’ time Formula 1 is going to disappear. I believe nobody in this room is hoping that something like that [will happen].
“So I’m very confident they will find an agreement, also for them it’s not easy, but the reason why we committed to 2023 is we trust the sport and believe the people involved in the sport will find a sensible conclusion to the discussion.”
Pirelli’s new deal was the first it has agreed with Liberty as commercial rights holder, having previously negotiated a contract taking it up to the end of 2019 with Bernie Ecclestone.