Pirelli's F1 budget is equivalent to that of a team - Paul Hembery

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery has revealed his company's annual investment in Formula 1 is the equivalent of a team's budget

Pirelli's F1 budget is equivalent to that of a team - Paul Hembery

Hembery feels the Italian tyre manufacturer's value to F1 is underestimated when it comes to the amount of money spent on not only developing the rubber, but also as a sponsor.

One of Pirelli's key considerations before deciding whether or not to submit a bid in the recent tyre-tender process, and continue as supplier from 2017 onwards, was cost.

Inside F1's latest tyre war

Hembery said: "It was a big decision for us, it's very expensive.

"You have to bear in mind we are a sponsor as well as a technical supplier, and our overall costs are far greater than a normal sponsor.

"It would be far better for us to just go and do some trackside advertising and sip a bottle of champagne every weekend. That would cost probably a third of what it costs now.

"That's the problem ­ people don't understand our net costs of being present.

"We don't get anything from the commercial rights holder, so our net cost is greater than [everyone] except the engine manufacturers.

"You could certainly run an F1 team on our budget."

Given Pirelli's budget is likely to be in the region of $110million, it becomes a question of whether such an investment has been worth it since returning to F1 in 2011.

While Hembery believes that to be the case, he feels F1 could do far more to assist.

"So far it has, but there has also to be a recognition of your role," added Hembery

"If you come along and you feel you are not getting the right recognition for what you are putting into the sport then you start questioning it. Other people have come and gone in the past because of those reasons.

"I have always said we wouldn't be in the sport at any cost, that it has to work as a business proposition.

"The sport is still strong historically in South America, Brazil in particular, and in Europe, but we need it to be stronger in Asia and we need it to grow in North America. We need bigger audiences in those markets.

"We compare F1 with other sponsorship activities, what our competitors do, what the automotive businesses do, and other people not even directly in our business where they go and spend money.

"It's not a given that at any costs we want to be here. We'll be here if it makes sense for the business, and the sport wants us to be here.

"If they don't want to recognise our role and involvement then we will do something else."

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