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Pirelli set for F1 tyre tender challenge as Bridgestone talk ramps up

Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli looks set to face competition for the official FIA tender contract from 2025 amid suggestions that Bridgestone has made a bid.

Bridgestone tyres. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday 23 October 2010.

Earlier this year, the FIA opened up the tender process for F1's official supply contract from 2025 to 2027, with the possibility of it being extended until 2028.

The deadline for applicants was 15 May, with the FIA now going through the process of evaluating the proposals from interested parties before making a call on who the approved bidders are on 16 June.

The successful candidates will then move on to the next stage of the process, which will include discussions with F1's commercial rights holder.

The last tyre tender process, from 2020 to 2023, saw Pirelli face a challenge from South Korean company Hankook.

Pirelli was then granted a one-year extension until the end of 2024 due to the delays in the introduction of new technical regulations prompted by the COVID pandemic.

With the deadline for applicants for the 2024-2027 tender having passed, it is understood that Pirelli is not alone in having put in a bid for the new tyre contract.

And while there has been no confirmation from the FIA about the number of candidates nor their identity, sources have suggested that Japanese company Bridgestone has applied.

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone tyres

Bridgestone was last involved in F1 from 1997 to 2010 and had been the single supplier from 2007-2010 following Michelin's decision to quit the championship at the end of 2006.

Since leaving F1, Bridgestone has remained involved in major Japanese categories as well as other international series. Its Firestone brand is the sole supplier of IndyCar.

Speaking to Autosport recently, Bridgestone's manager of motorsports planning Eiichi Suzuki, said that the company was evaluating involvement in other series, including F1.

"We are always thinking about what and how we can best supply our motorsports activities in global categories, including F1," he said. "Of course, we are conducting research on such matters."

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Bridgestone has, however, declined to confirm whether or not that interest has extended to it formally applying for the tyre tender contract.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Bridgestone has a heritage of over 60 years in motorsports and we will continue to pursue sustainable global motorsports activities. However, we refrain from commenting on any particular categories."

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