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China Daily Website

Pirelli wants to roll on with formula one

Updated: 2013-04-15 08:02
( China Daily)

The exclusive tire supplier of Formula One, Pirelli, said it was seeking to extend its contract with FIA, as this season marks the end of a three-year contract.

"We are in the process of negotiations. We have the intention to remain in F1," Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport director, told China Daily on Saturday in Shanghai on the sidelines of the F1 Chinese Grand Prix.

The Italian tire provider faced a hard time at the start of the 2013 F1 season as Red Bull, the defending world champion team, complained after the opening race in Melbourne that the impact of the tires on its cars' performances was too great and limited their speed.

But Hembery insisted his company won't change its strategy due to one team's complaints.

"Red Bull clearly have a lot of performance. Maybe they would like something else, but I am sure other teams would like other things as well," he said after the Malaysia race, where Red Bull finished one-two.

The company also confirmed the benefits it received from sponsoring F1, especially in China.

"Pirelli benefited a lot from the three-year sponsorship of F1 here in China. The racing helped promote our brand reputation as well as awareness to Chinese customers," said Gregorio Borgo, the Pirelli Asia president.

"We can gauge that from good retail sales every April here in China."

Moreover, "it has also helped Pirelli form closer ties with premium automobile brands like Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren, to further maintain our leadership in the premium tire segment," Borgo said.

The world's fifth-largest tire maker has also outlined special plans for China.

Borgo said Pirelli was planning a $200 million investment to make the country its largest manufacturing base by 2014.

- Lei Lei and Li Fangfang

(China Daily 04/15/2013 page24)

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