Pirelli open to WRC comeback

The Italian brand will remain involved in rallying despite leaving the WRC at the end of this year


Pirelli’s motorsport director Mario Isola has left the door open to a potential World Rally Championship return in the future, as it enters the final year of its current contract.

A tender for the WRC control tire contract from 2025 to 2027 ended with Hankook being selected over Michelin and MRF, while Pirelli elected not to submit a bid to remain at the top level of rallying at all.

This will be the last year of a four-year stint for Pirelli as the sole supplier of tires in the WRC; it previously had control tire status between 2008-10 and supplied several factory teams during the era of open tire competition.

Isola told DirtFish: “The fact this is our last year, for the moment, it doesn’t mean that it’s our last year forever. We will monitor the situation and how WRC will move in the future and maybe we’ll come back.

“It’s part of a cycle. We were in WRC in 2008-09-10 and then we decided to focus on other championships. It was a decision. You have to decide sometimes. It’s sad but we are not out of rallying.”

Isola went on to explain the parameters Pirelli would evaluate when considering a return to the WRC:  “There are many elements we consider: the know-how we can get from here, how much technology we can transfer on our road tires for example.

“The promotion of the championship, the media is important for us: how can we give value to the championship? We want to bring guests, we want to activate the championship.

“This is our approach. We don’t want to be just a supplier in any of our championships. It’s not [like that] in Formula 1, it’s not [like that] in GT and it’s not in rally. We want to be a partner, develop together many different things that are not only supplying a tire.”


Pirelli's Mario Isola will keep a close eye on the WRC in the years to come

Pirelli will continue to be actively involved in other levels of rallying. Isola confirmed that Pirelli’s flagship program next season will be the European Rally Championship, along with commitments in over 40 national championships.

“Rally is very important for us, especially on surfaces like gravel, snow, ice, also Tarmac. Because Tarmac on the open road, on the stages, is different compared to circuit. So with the European championship we can develop a good product and continue this activity.

“Don’t take this as the end of Pirelli‘s story. We are staying in rallying; we will increase our participation in historic rally. We continue to support young drivers to progress to a higher level in rallying, as we do in circuit and single seater activities.”