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F1 NEWS 

Pirelli aims to stay in F1 after 2013, when current contract expires

Pirelli tyresPirelli is hopeful of continuing as Formula 1's control tyre supplier when its current three-year contract finishes at the end of 2013.

The Italian tyre company's motorsport director Paul Hembery confirmed that Pirelli sees F1 as a "medium-to-long-term" project.

"Our current contract runs until the end of 2013, but we always intended to be in F1 for the medium-to-long term," Hembery told AUTOSPORT. "The deadline for the 2014 decision is next June.

"If the sport wants us to stay and we can convince the board to continue, in light of economic conditions, then our intention is to go forward."

Hembery downplayed fears that a Eurozone crisis could influence the decision.

He underlined that the global platform of F1 means that there are many other markets that will be considered.

"We're a global company, leveraged all over the world and depending on how a host of markets perform, not just Europe," he said.

"F1 is a unique brand, with reach in emerging markets that are important to us."

Hembery added that he would like to see the sport put more effort into building the profile of its star drivers in order to build interest in F1.

In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about the merits of the Pirelli rubber, but Hembery insists that the drivers must be the main focus of attention.

"We were asked to provide fun and entertainment with our F1 tyres, although it was not our intention to become the discussion point for the weekend," he said. "We still want the drivers to be the stars of the show.

"Attracting new people to follow our sport isn't easy, so I'd like us to build-up our drivers, and grow their profile as major international sporting stars, and have more visible personalities."

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