Pirelli com­mit­ted to F1 un­der Lib­erty

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MONACO: Pirelli is com­mit­ted to For­mula One but there are no plans to take a stake in the sport fol­low­ing Lib­erty Me­dia’s takeover, the tyre com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Marco Tronchetti Provera said yes­ter­day.

The Mi­lan-based com­pany has a three-year deal, ne­go­ti­ated with For­mula One’s for­mer com­mer­cial supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone and the gov­ern­ing FIA, to be the sole sup­plier un­til the end of 2019.

Speak­ing at the Monaco Grand Prix, Tronchetti Provera said a de­ci­sion on Pirelli’s in­volve­ment be­yond that would have to be made in a year and a half ’s time.

“But I don’t see any is­sue,” he added. “We are com­mit­ted, we see For­mula One re­main­ing the most at­trac­tive rac­ing in the world and Pirelli is the largest sup­plier of mo­tor­sport glob­ally.”

He said this sea­son’s longer last­ing com­pounds and wider tyres were ‘quite bal­anced’ but Pirelli was “ob­vi­ously work­ing to im­prove them.”

US-based Lib­erty Me­dia com­pleted their takeover in Jan­uary and are look­ing at ways of im­prov­ing the show and mak­ing the rac­ing more com­pet­i­tive.

The 10 teams have also been in­vited to take a stake in the sport, with Lib­erty re­serv­ing US$400 mil­lion (RM1.7 bil­lion) of shares for them should they wish to take up the of­fer.

There has been no con­fir­ma­tion of any of them do­ing so and Tronchetti Provera in­di­cated Pirelli had no in­ter­est ei­ther.

“No-one of­fered to us and we didn’t ask,” he said. “We are part of For­mula One, it is not a fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment. It’s a mar­ket­ing and tech­no­log­i­cal in­vest­ment and so we don’t see any need to en­ter the capital.”

Tronchetti Provera praised Ec­cle­stone and ac­knowl­edged that he and the 86-year-old Bri­ton, who ruled the sport for decades, had a “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” that would con­tinue but busi­ness was busi­ness.

“We have to do our best to sat­isfy the new own­er­ship and to be sat­is­fied our­selves,” he said. “We stay in For­mula One if the qual­ity stays high and the will­ing­ness of Lib­erty is to keep it high, even higher.” Reuters

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