Hembery: Pirelli still keen on F1

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Paul Hembery says motorsport remains central to Pirelli’s future plans following an ownership change, with the F1 tyre supply tender due imminently.

Pirelli has been F1’s tyre supplier since 2011, with the manufacturer tasked with providing rapidly degrading tyres in order to open up strategic options in two and three stop races. With the first steps towards a takeover by ChemChina having recently taken place, Hembery says Formula One will remain a core part of Pirelli’s business.

“For us it’s very much business as normal and if I bring it down to a motorsport level, motorsport for Pirelli remains a key aspect of our positioning in the premium and prestige market segments,” Hembery said. “We are involved in over 250 championships this year in 54 countries - that’s between the car and motorcycle racing that we have - and of course F1 is the pinnacle of all of that activity.

“Our view is as before, nothing changes. We see F1 as a medium to long-term involvement and we will be very happy to continue in the sport.”

Hembery himself will be taking on an expanded role in the coming months, with an announcement due at the Chinese Grand Prix. While F1 will not be his only focus, he wants to see the sport evolving to make sure it remains relevant for Pirelli in the future.

“Obviously you have to understand the conditions of any tender and need to understand what is required. We’d clearly like to understand what the sport is going to look like in 2017 because at the moment we know there are discussions but we don’t know what the outcome of those discussions will be.

“So if you’re singing up to such an important contract you must have an idea of what you’re going in to. But I think we’ve been very consistent that we’ve been very pleased with the results of our involvement in Formula One. It is a business decision to be in Formula One, we’re not here for fun, it’s to create an impact on our presence in the market from a brand awareness point of view but also from a buying public’s decision making process point of view.

“So we would like to continue. As with anything we all know that sometimes you can improve on things but we also know that Formula One still has in the motorsport world a very unique platform. Sometimes people underestimate how big it is, and when you are involved in 250 championships I can guarantee you there are 249 who would love to be where Formula One is.”

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