Why does F1 only use Pirelli tyres? Agreement between two companies explored
Pirelli has been the exclusive supplier of tires for F1 since 2011. It entered the sport after Japanese tire manufacturer Bridgestone's departure, with the company being the sole supplier since 2007.
Before 2007, the sport had multiple companies supplying tires. In fact, back in the 1950s, the sport had up to a whopping five manufacturers. That was until the FIA decided that high levels of competition and prices led to swiftly rising costs and large gaps in performance between teams. As a result, it was decided that a single company would be in agreement to supply tires in F1.
Pirelli is on contract to remain as a supplier for the sport until the end of the 2024 season after being granted an extra year following a delay in the FIA's introduction of the new technical regulations. The 18-inch rubber tires were introduced in 2022 rather than as initially planned in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Audi to enter F1 in 2026 after buying stake in Sauber
Audi recently announced that it will be partnering up with Sauber to make its entry into the sport as a power unit supplier in the 2026 season after buying a stake in the team.
As reported by F1.com, Sauber acknowledged in an official statement that this strategic partnership will ensure long-term success for the company. It stated:
“This partnership will bring the team to new heights, guaranteeing at the same time the long-term future of the company – an entity that boasts a committed workforce, one of Europe’s leading wind tunnels and world-class motorsport manufacturing facilities.”
Finn Rausing, chairman of the board of Sauber Holdings, spoke about the shared vision between the two companies that could potentially lead to a successful partnership. He said:
“Audi is the best strategic partner for the Sauber Group. It is clear that we share values and a vision, and we look forward to achieving our common goals in a strong and successful partnership.”
Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur was optimistic about the partnership, emphasizing that he is "confident" that the team will help Audi reach their goals in F1. He said:
“The partnership between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a key step for our team as we continue to make progress towards the front of the grid. To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honour and a great responsibility: it’s the best option for the future, and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in F1.”
Audi board member Oliver Hoffmann added:
“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious F1 project. We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations, and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”
Alfa Romeo will reportedly end their title sponsorship of the Sauber at the end of 2023.