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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

How would a new tire manufacturer change up the WRC?

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

by Drew Bentham

With the announcement that Pirelli will bow out of the World Rally Championship at the end of the 2024 season, citing "They've achieved what they wanted too..." speculation has already begun about what comes next.

Pirelli Scorpion Tire
Pirelli to bow out of the WRC at the end of 2024

There has been mixed talk about how the Pirellis over the years have been too vulnerable and unreliable by drivers across the service park. And at the very least the commentators of the world have something new(ish) to talk about in an otherwise bland championship.

The ERC has benefitted from no less than 4 different manufacturers in Michelin, MRF, Hankook (Juniors) as well as Pirelli and to be honest its nice to see a variation, not least because there are advantages and disadvantages that come up from stage to stage and rally to rally. Crews keep this info close to their chest for good reason.

So really shouldn't the question not be, should we re-open up the championship to multiple manufacturers again?

Well the purpose of a sole tire manufacturer is to limit environmental, logistical and financial factors. And I get that. From a glance, it obviously makes sense. But does it? 252 tires are still required for all the Rally1 crews to use over an event. If multiple manufacturers were allowed, would the difference really be that noticeable? After all there are all the other series that require their tires so in effect those journeys are already being made. I've looked for evidence to suggest there is a saving, but I've not found any yet.

There is a levelling up aspect too. Having one tire means that element is taken out of the competition so that one crew doesn't have an advantage over another. But this has a flip side. What if that control tire doesn't work with your car? Then you end up with a mandated disadvantage. Is it not better to allow teams time to test with 2 or 3 brands to find the best solution before settling on one for the season? That surely would make more sense? Besides, the competition in the WRC is as bland as magnolia paint. It needs spicing up desperately. I've written before about the need for more teams which is still true, but adding some other variables can't do any harm. So what if your tires end up being the worst of the pack? That's no different to ending up with the slowest car. Do better next year. Toughen up buttercup and stop complaining.

The latest news is that Michelin is entering a bid for the tenure. Chances are they'll be successful in becoming the new tire supplier bring some change to the WRC, but let's not discount MRF who have been very successful with the ERC. Either way make the most of the interest, because we'll be back to black and round before long.

Further Reading:

Sebastian Loeb

Are we witnessing the death throes of rallying or the metamorphosis into a great new chapter?

Episode 1 - Eamonn Kelly

Episode 1 - Eamonn Kelly Podcast

Autosport - WRC tire supplier to change -

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