November 25, 2018 / 10:04 AM / 24 days ago

Motor racing: Pirelli agrees new four-year Formula One deal

FILE PHOTO: F1 Formula One - Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria - June 29, 2018 General view of Pirelli tyres REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Pirelli has signed a new four-year deal to remain Formula One’s sole tyre supplier until the end of the 2023 season, the sport announced in a statement on Sunday.

“We are delighted to have reached this agreement, which guarantees a long-term stable future for such a crucial component of Formula One,” Formula One chairman Chase Carey said.

The current deal was due to expire at the end of 2019 and the governing FIA said last September that more than one company had tendered, although Pirelli’s French rival Michelin had ruled itself out.

Media reports had indicated South Korea’s Hankook as the other bidder.

The tender called for a switch from 13-inch (33.02 cm) wheel rims to 18-inch ones in 2021, meaning that any new entrant faced the added cost of having to design one type of tyre for 2020 and a new one for the following three years.

Pirelli confirmed its commitment “to work together toward the new technical regulations expected for 2021, including the 18-inch tyre”.

Michelin withdrew from Formula One in 2006, a year after a farcical U.S. Grand Prix that went ahead with only six cars racing after all the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out on safety grounds.

The sport has had a sole supplier since then, with Bridgestone replaced by Pirelli in 2011.

Writing by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by John O'Brien

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