Bridgestone is being considered for a return to Formula 1 – but potentially only in 2029.
At the beginning of this year, the sport’s governing entity initiated a tendering phase to finalise the upcoming contract to provide all F1 teams with tyres until 2027, with a potential extension for a year thereafter.
Bridgestone, a previous F1 supplier, entered this phase, but news from the Qatar paddock the previous weekend has it that Pirelli has, in reality, clinched the deal.
“Formula 1 bosses decided against Bridgestone’s application,” Auto Motor und Sport journalist Michael Schmidt recently said.
“The official announcement should take place in the week after the Qatar GP.”
Insiders suggest that, even though Pirelli and Bridgestone both received the nod from the FIA and progressed to commercial negotiations, F1 in the end felt the Italian brand was more in line with the impending tyre blanket prohibition and the 2026 transition to smaller and less weighty tyres.
Schmidt conveyed his thoughts, opining that Pirelli might end up digging deeper into its pockets for the agreement, since Bridgestone “set the bar high” during the trade discussions.
“Pirelli is said to be set to pay $20 million more into the Formula 1 coffers,” he shared. “Furthermore, the teams will only need to contribute half of the previous amount – $750,000 rather than 1.5 million annually.
“As a measure to make funds available for Formula 1, Pirelli recently signalled its exit from the World Rally Championship,” Schmidt noted.
Additionally, he mentioned: “There are rumours that Pirelli wants to conclude its journey post 2028, paving the path for Bridgestone.”
Mario Isola, Pirelli’s head of F1, commented earlier this year: “It’s never an easy decision because we invest a lot of resources and money in Formula 1. But we are happy with the results so far.
“13 years is a long time, and extending it by another three or four years is indeed a significant step, but the sport is in a robust state. We’re pleased with how things stand.
“We are happy to play our part in the sport and to follow the requests that are coming from drivers, teams, the FIA and F1, to have a sport that is even better if possible,” Isola reflected.