Pirelli may be used to sticking to its territory, but the latest development has the Italian rubber company voluntarily ceding ground to its rivals. After having secured the exclusive contract to provide tires to Formula One, Pirelli has announced that it's withdrawing from the World Rally Championship.
Pirelli had been the official tire supplier to the top-tier rally series for the past three years, and despite the F1 contract, was expected to continue its involvement in the WRC as well. However, reports now indicate that the deadline for submitting its tender to renew the WRC contract that expires this year has come and gone without Pirelli's bid.
According to reports, Pirelli was uncomfortable with the volatility of the WRC's regulations. The FIA – which governs both F1 and the WRC – offered Pirelli the opportunity to extend the current contract by another year, but Pirelli declined, choosing instead to focus its efforts on single-seaters while continuing its rally activities in national series and, possibly, in the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge.