Pirelli & C. S.p.A. is a multinational tyre manufacturer based in Milan, Italy. The company, which has been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 1922, is the 7th-largest tyre manufacturer behind Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Sumitomo, and Hankook and is focused on the consumer business (tyres for cars, motorcycles and bicycles). It is present in Europe, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Post-Soviet states, operating commercially in over 160 countries. It has 19 manufacturing sites in 13 countries and a network of around 14,600 distributors and retailers. It was temporarily privatized by the consortium led by the Chinese state-owned enterprise ChemChina.
|Founder||Giovanni Battista Pirelli|
|Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America, Post-Soviet states|
|Ning Gaoning (Chairman)|
Marco Tronchetti Provera (Executive Vice Chairman and CEO)
|Products||Tyres for car, motorcycles and cycling|
|Revenue||€4.300 billion (2020)|
|€703 million (2018)|
|€42,7 million (2020)|
|Total assets||12,733,914,000 euro (2017)|
Marco Tronchetti Provera (10.05%)
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.|
Pirelli has been sponsoring sport competitions since 1907 and is the exclusive tyre partner for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for 2008–2010, FIA Formula One World Championship for 2011–present and for the FIM World Superbike Championship. Pirelli's headquarters are located in Milan's Bicocca district.
On 4 October 2017, Pirelli returned to the Milan Stock Exchange after focusing its business on pure consumer products (tyres for car, motorcycles, and bicycles) and related services, and separating the business of industrial tyre.
Pirelli's eponymous calendar has been published since 1964, and has featured the contributions of many famous photographers over the years such as Helmut Newton, Steve McCurry, Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Herb Rits and Annie Leibovitz.
Founded in Milan in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, the company initially specialised in rubber and derivative processes and also made scuba diving rebreathers. Thereafter, Pirelli's activities were primarily focused on the production of tyre and cables (for energy and telecommunications). In 2005, Pirelli sold its cable division to Goldman Sachs, which changed the new group's name to Prysmian.
In 1974, Pirelli invented the "wide radial tyre", upon a request from the Lancia rally racing team for a tyre strong enough to withstand the power of the new Lancia Stratos. At that time, racing tyres were either slick tyres made with the cross ply technique (very wide tyres with a reduced sidewall height), or radial tyres, which were too narrow to withstand the Stratos' power and did not provide enough grip. Both were unusable for the Lancia Stratos, as the radials were destroyed within 10 km, and the slicks too stiff. Lancia asked Pirelli for a solution, and in 1975 Pirelli created a wide tyre with a reduced sidewall height like a slick, but with a radial structure.
Subsequently, Porsche started using the same tyres with the Porsche 911 Turbo.
In 1988, Pirelli acquired the Armstrong Rubber Company, which was headquartered in New Haven, Connecticut, for $190 million.
In 2000, Pirelli sold its terrestrial fibre optic cables business to Cisco and its optical components operations to Corning, for 5 billion euro. It invested – through Olimpia -part of the resulting liquidity to become a majority shareholder in Telecom Italia in 2001, maintaining this position until 2007.
In 2005, Pirelli sold its Cables, Energy Systems and Telecommunications assets to Goldman Sachs and the newly formed company was named Prysmian. In the same year, 2005, Pirelli opened its first tyre production plant in Shandong province, China. This was the beginning of the group's production complex in the country.
In 2010, Pirelli completed its conversion to a pure tyre company by selling Pirelli Broadband Solutions and spinning off the real estate assets of Pirelli Re. Fondazione Pirelli was established in the same year to safeguard and celebrate the company's past and to promote business culture as an integral part of Italy's national cultural assets.
In March 2015, it was announced that Pirelli shareholders had accepted a €7.1 billion bid from ChemChina, together with Camfin and LTI, for the company. The transaction was completed and the company was delisted in November 2015.
In March 2019 Pirelli announced a new range of mountainbiking tyres, called Scorpion.
Pirelli is focused on the consumer business, producing tyres for cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Car products range
PZero: tyres for ultra-high performance cars. including F1 vehicles
Cinturato: tyres for high end cars.
Winter: tyres for low temperatures and snow.
Scorpion: tyres for SUV and cross-over
Moto products range
Diablo: road and track tyres.
Angel: street and commuting tyres.
Scorpion: road and off-road tyres.
Velo products range
PZero Velo: road racing.
Cycl-e: urban and electric.
|Marco Polo International Italy (an intermediate holding company for ChemChina)||45.52%|
|Long-Term Investments Luxembourg||6.24%|
Board of directors
|Executive Vice Chairman and CEO||Marco Tronchetti Provera|
|Director||Giorgio Luca Bruno|
|Director||Domenico De Sole|
|Director||Giovanni Tronchetti Provera|
|Director||Giovanni Lo Storto|
*The performance takes into account, as well as the deconsolidation of Venezuela, a non-recurring fiscal impact of 107.6 million euro linked to the devaluation of active deferred taxation by the Parent Group as a consequence of Pirelli's new financial status after its merger with Marco Polo Industrial Holding.
The Pirelli Calendar is published annually, featuring actresses and fashion models. The calendar also features the work of fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz, and Patrick Demarchelier.
The Pirelli Internetional Award is given annually for the best international multimedia involving the communication of science and technology conducted entirely on the Internet.
Pirelli has a history of sponsoring football teams. Pirelli is well known for its long term primary sponsorship of the Italian football club Inter Milan since 1995. Pirelli previously appeared as a sponsor on the shirts of the Maltese football club Valletta for a short time.
In reference to Brazil striker Ronaldo’s usual goal celebration of both arms outstretched, Pirelli ran a 1998 commercial in which he replaced the figure of Christ from the Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over his home city of Rio de Janeiro while in an Inter Milan strip. It was controversial with the Catholic Church.
Pirelli's sponsorship of football teams is not limited to Europe, South America is a key market and as a result successful clubs have also been sponsored by the tyre company. The Brazilian team Palmeiras, Uruguayan team Peñarol and Argentinian side Vélez Sársfield all had Pirelli as a shirt sponsor.
When English football club Burton Albion Football Club built their new stadium in 2005, Pirelli became the title sponsor of the new ground. This was because the new stadium, named Pirelli Stadium lies next to the Pirelli factory in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England.
In 2009 Pirelli became the title sponsor of the Chinese Super League (CSL), China's top-tier football league.
In 2012, the company became a major sponsor of the Russian Cup.
The company was the title sponsor of the Pirelli World Challenge from 2011 to 2018.
Pirelli supported rally with their FIA Pirelli Star Driver program as an initiative to support young rally drivers. It was the sole supplier in the top tier of World Rally Championship in 2008–2010, and is now a co-supplier with Michelin. Since its first involvement in WRC in 1973, the manufacturer won 181 events, and produced 25 WRC Driver Champions including Colin McRae (1995), Petter Solberg (2003), Sebastien Loeb (2008-2010).
Pirelli will again become the sole tyre supplier in all three tiers in 2021.
Pirelli is the only allowed tyre brand in the FIM World Superbike Championship since 2007 (along with its support classes, such as the Supersport World Championship). Pirelli has also been awarded the contract for the control tyre supply in the British Superbike Championship from 2008 until at least 2010. Pirelli were also the official tyre partner of the World Rally Championship from 2008 to 2010, until the company withdrew to focus on its Formula 1 commitments. Pirelli returned to the championship in 2014, however they only partnering tyres for a few private teams as Michelin is the major tyre partner. Pirelli was also partnered Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series from 2008 until 2010 before being replaced by Continental AG in 2011. The company is the official supplier of the GT World Challenge America since 2011 and the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup since 2013. Pirelli is also a sponsor of rally and gymkhana driver Ken Block's Hoonigan Racing Division since 2010.
Pirelli is the sole global tyre partner in Formula One, following Bridgestone's decision to withdraw from the role at the end of 2010. Pirelli previously competed in Formula One from 1950–1958, 1981–1986 and 1989–1991. Pirelli has also partnering tyres for all FIA Formula 2 Championship and GP3 Series later FIA Formula 3 Championship cars since 2011 and 2010 respectively.
The tyre manufacturer introduced a colour coding to recognize tyre compounds used by drivers during the racing weekend. For the benefit of the spectators at the track and the television audiences each compound has its own colour coding on the Pirelli and P Zero logos which appear on the sidewalls of the tyre. For the 2019 season, Pirelli reverted to using 3 colours to identify the dry weather tyres. However, there still were 5 different compounds meaning that the same compound tyre can be represented by different colours throughout the season.
Controversy surrounded Pirelli's Formula 1 tyres as at the 2013 British Grand Prix seven Pirelli tyres failed: Pérez twice, Alonso, Hamilton, Gutierrez, Vergne, and Massa. Following a safety car period drivers were instructed to stay off the curbs that were later found to be "razor sharp" and may have been the cause, but the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club rejected the idea that the curbs could be at fault, saying that "These curbs have been in since 2009 and we have had thousands and thousands of cars go over these curbs and they have been absolutely fine". The incidents were described as "unacceptable" by F1 drivers. It was later suggested that the cause of the tyre failures could be the teams putting them on the wrong sides of the car. Pirelli then stressed that since the tyres are of asymmetrical construction, as such they are not interchangeable, and if they had been used correctly, they would not have posed a threat to safety. However Pirelli has since changed the construction of the tyres to prevent further incidents, switching to kevlar belts.
During the second practice of the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, two tyres failed: Vettel and Alonso. One senior figure at Pirelli described the failures as a "big concern", whilst Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery admitted the tyre failures were "a worry for the sport". Following these issues, just one day later Michelin announced that they would replace Pirelli as the tyre supplier for 2014. In October 2013 Fernando Alonso complained that "the quality of the tyres is very on the limit", and that they "will not do 5km". Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: "Of course Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers, so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion. In the Korean Grand Prix Pérez locked a front tyre heavily and then suffered a dramatic failure on the subsequent long straight. Pirelli also hit controversy at the Indian Grand Prix where they requested the teams run the tyres a limited number of laps due to their fragility. One senior engineer at a top said this was the worst tyre blistering ever experienced.
In pre-season testing for the 2014 season the tyre on Rosberg's car failed, sending Rosberg into a 200 mph (322 km/h) spin. The incident prompted considerable alarm, and Pirelli stated that the tyre "will not be proposed again".
In January 2014 Pirelli signed a contract with the FIA to supply tyres to Formula One for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons. Later in 2014 Lewis Hamilton described the Pirelli wet weather tyres as "They're not great tyres. That's no secret". Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery reply was that "These are comments by drivers that have not been made in an official way to us. Consequently, if Pirelli was requested by the teams and the FIA to reconsider the technical capability of the wet tyre, Pirelli would do it immediately".
At the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix, during practice, Rosberg suffered a dangerous tyre delamination at 200 mph (322 km/h). Rosberg said the incident was "quite a shock". During the subsequent drivers' briefing, double world champion Lewis Hamilton raised concerns about tyre safety following the high-speed blow-out suffered by teammate Nico Rosberg. Concerns were also brought up by four-time world champion Vettel, and double world champion Alonso. Pirelli relied on race director, Charlie Whiting, to defend Pirelli's record in the meeting. During the race a tyre on Vettel's car suffered from a blowout at 200 mph (322 km/h). The four time world champion described the failure an "unacceptable", and added that Pirelli's tendency to blame failures either on debris on track or a driver going over a curb for tyre failures was incorrect, confirming that "I didn't go off the track and out of the blue the tyre explodes". Following the race Rosberg was critical of the poor quality of Pirelli tyres, saying "Vettel exploding his tyre is really poor. It shouldn't happen and the fact that it keeps on happening, in other categories as well as today with us, both of us were just so lucky". The Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman said: "We need to stop the sudden explosions." Immediately after the race Pirelli claimed that excessive wear caused the blowout, blaming Ferrari for running the tyre too long. However, following a more detailed analysis Pirelli said that in fact wear was not to blame, but instead a cut had caused the tyre failure. To counteract further problems at the next Grand Prix, Monza, Pirelli wanted to insist that teams run the tyres at high pressure, beyond their design parameters. However, double world champion Lewis Hamilton described these rules as a "disaster" and when double world champion Fernando Alonso also described them as "strange" Pirelli was forced to backtrack on their proposal. Consequently, after such comments, Pirelli attempted to censor the drivers by asking them to not criticise the tyres in public in the future.
The situation did not improve at the next Grand Prix at Monza. Here, Pirelli reported a higher than expected number of cuts forming in the tyres. During the race, one of Hamilton's tyres dropped below the regulation pressure dictated by Pirelli, despite the tyre having been prepared by a Pirelli technician. Neither Mercedes nor Hamilton were punished for the infringement. Later in 2016, the necessity to run Pirelli tyres at high pressure was described as a "joke" by triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, world champion Jenson Button, as well as world championship runner-up Felipe Massa.
A number of changes to the Formula 1 tyres were introduced for the 2017 season. The most obvious visual difference was an increase of width by 25%, both front and rear, increasing from 245 to 305mm at the front and 325 to 405mm at the rear. The actual rim size remained unchanged from the traditional 13 inches.
This is part of a package of measures expected to cut lap times by around five seconds relative to 2015: although the improvement might be even bigger.
Most of that extra speed has been found through corners, as the cars have got wider and will generate at least 20% more downforce compared to last year thanks to bigger wings and increased aerodynamics.
These faster cornering speeds—to the extent that some corners have now effectively become straights, already leading to circuit modifications—have imposed significantly increased loads on the tyres, meaning that there is a completely new philosophy behind Pirelli's 2017 range. Having followed the brief to provide deliberate degradation for the past six seasons, there is now a new directive to make tyres with less degradation that are more resistant to overheating for the latest generation of much faster cars. As a result, both the tyre structure and their compounds have been updated.
In April 2012, Pirelli & C. SpA signed joint venture agreement with Indonesian counterpart PT Astra Autoparts a subsidiary of PT Astra International for the construction of a motorcycle tyre plant with a total investment of $120 million. 60 percent shares will be held by Pirelli. Pirelli hoped to strengthen its presence in the largest motorcycle market in the world, the Southeast Asia region which has 250 million motorcycles.
In July 2018, Pirelli launched a F1 wheel shaped Bluetooth speaker, P Zero Sound. The Bluetooth speaker measures 12.9-inches in diameter, weighs 21 pounds and has a 100-watt amplifier, a 100mm midwoofer, a 25mm tweeter and also offers Bluetooth 4.0 with AptX for wireless connectivity. IXOOST is the manufacturer of P Zero Sound speaker, which majorly manufactures Motorsports-themed audio systems. The wheel shaped speaker costs €2400, which is equivalent to about $2,800.
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