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Tom Howard

WRC tyre supplier to change for 2025 as Pirelli elects not to bid

The Italian manufacturer is currently the official tyre supplier to all categories within the WRC after winning the FIA's last tender in 2019. Its deal to supply tyres from 2021 to 2024 included the last season of the WRC generation car and the first three campaigns under Rally1 hybrid regulations.

The FIA launched a WRC tyre tender in July inviting tyre brands to submit their interest in becoming the championship's sole tyre supplier, with the current tender expiring at the end of next year.

The tyre tender will cover a three-year period from 2025 to 2027, the last year of the contract coinciding with the WRC's expected move to new regulations.

Pirelli had indicated in an interview with last month that it was working on a potential proposal but has now announced it won't be in the running.

A statement said: "Pirelli has not submitted its candidature to supply the FIA World Rally Championship from 2025-2027. As a result, the Italian firm will conclude its partnership as a single supplier to the WRC in 2024, having achieved the targets set three years ago at the start of the current contract."

The company stressed it "remains committed to rallying, and will continue its participation in all the other rally competitions in which it is currently involved".

This includes the European Rally Championship, also organised by WRC Promoter, in which Hayden Paddon won the title in a Pirelli-equipped Hyundai against competitors using rubber from Michelin, MRF Tyres and Hankook.

As previously reported this week, it is understood Michelin is expected to submit a bid alongside Indian manufacturer MRF.

Ice tyre (Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport)

Michelin previously supplied rubber to the WRC from 2011 to 2020, and was joined by DMACK before the firm exited the championship at the end of 2017.

The FIA is expected to announce the successful applicant on 19 October.

The FIA brief states that "tenderers must be able to demonstrate that their proposed tyres are safe and reliable and can offer equal sporting capabilities for all competitors within each relevant technical category in the variety of conditions that would be encountered on a WRC competition".

Applicants must produce a minimum of two specifications of gravel and tarmac tyres, a snow [studded] tyre and a tarmac winter tyre - one with studs (where permitted) and one without studs. These two variants can be different types/compounds.

"Tenderers should also demonstrate that their products have the highest resistance to punctures and can offer a high level of sporting strategic capability allowing various number of compound strategies," the brief continues.

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