Michael Schumacher, Benetton, 1991

Pirelli’s motor racing heritage

F1 videoPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Benetton, 1991
Michael Schumacher, Benetton, 1991

Pirelli make their return to Formula 1 in 2011 after a 20-year absence.

They’ve been active in different forms of motor racing for over 100 years.

This video shows some of Pirelli’s appearances in pre-war Grand Prix racing, right up to their return in the 1980s:

They’ve been testing in anticipation of their F1 comeback with Nick Heidfeld, Romain Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa at Mugello, Monza, Barcelona, Valencia, Jerez and Paul Ricard.

They used a 2009 Toyota TF109 for the trials – here’s some footage from the tests:

Read more: Pirelli return to F1 after 20-year absence

Video courtesy Pirelli, voiceover and music by Alex Eckford, script by Keith Collantine/F1 Fanatic

38 comments on “Pirelli’s motor racing heritage”

  1. “Pirelli make their return to Formula 1 in 2011 after a 20-year absence”

    really, wow, where has the twenty years gone?

    1. Michael Schumacher’s the only driver on the grid to have driven on Pirellis before :)

  2. That 2009 Toyota TF109 looks very nice.

    Very Brawn like.

    I guess we’ll never know….

    1. Sorry dude, but I think you’re thinking of the TF110 that didn’t race this season.

      1. That TF110 would have been one of the fastest cars on the grid. I am predicting it would have been ahead of the Mercedes and up there with the Big 3 this season. Damnit Toyota. Would have been nice to see how a qualifying specialist like Trulli and a cagey racer like Glock would have mixed it up with the championship contenders from this past season.

        1. Based on…….?

          More wishful thinking from Toyota?

          1. Yea basically how Toyota was viewed every year. Could of, should of, but didn’t.

            Lets be honest though in regards to those first pictures of the TF110 that came out half way through this season. Any F1 car that is presented without a paintjob but just in carbon fibre is going to look like a race winner.

          2. I remember an feature from Autosport about the new life at Toyota Motorsport at Cologne, Deiter Rencken said that the TF110 was standing at the entrance, and it had both the F-Duct and blown diffuser (in a time when Red Bull was the only team with the EBD). Aerodynamically, it was probably one of the best cars of 2010, but I believe the Toyota engines were not good enough (remember that Williams was the only team with a double diffuser at the beginning of 2009 without an expressive result?).

            I could be totally wrong though :P

          3. as far as im aware toyota was supposed to be producing championship material machines every year since they entered the sport. TF110 supposed “amazingness” is another farce.

            Hairs – your comment – LIKE.

          4. Or maybe they would have stuck a different engine in it?
            Would they have had a better car with the cosworth engine this year?

          5. UneedAFinn2Win
            25th November 2010, 15:32

            There was an interesting analysis by Mika Salo in a Finnish paper years ago ,a few years after he drove for Toyota. He said something to the effect that the engineers never listened to feedback from the drivers, instead they insisted that their design concepts should provide the same results on track as they did in simulation (wind tunnel back then).
            They never made a car that could “jump over” chicanes, the car was always too stiff with too small range of travel in the suspension.

      2. Is that test car running on Toyota engine?

  3. Is it just me or did they do something to the engine in the second video? It sounds different.

    1. Sounds normal to me, very similar to the sound recordings I took at Silverstone that year.

  4. They had the free rein of an F1 car for advertising- they could have made it say PIRELLI!!! PIRELLI!!! PIRELLI!!! PIRELLI!!! but instead the put a small Pirelli sticker on the rear wing?

    1. who said they had free reign? I was surprised it didn’t say “toyota toyota”…

  5. That is a good script you wrote for the second vid Keith! Just let the F1 engine do the talking!!

    Seriously though, very imformative piece on the historical background of Pirelli. All I really knew is they sponsor Inter Milan FC and also they paid for a Football stadium in Burton. :D

  6. Also it should be said that they are deeply involved in many other calsses than Formula 1, providing tyres for both the WRC, GP2 and GP3.

    Go “P ZERO” :D

  7. Question, how exactly do Pirelli differenciate between the Options and Primes in 2011? Is it a green strip on the outer rim of the sidewalls like Bridgestone, or something different like a yellow strip on the inner rim? Pics would help if there are any from the Abu Dhabi sessions.

    1. I’ve seen tyres with Pirelli written in red, but sometimes in yellow on the tyres. Maybe this is the difference?

      1. My bad. Just checked the pictures, just yellow for now. I must have dreamt I saw one with red writing.

        One for the forum topic, I think…

        1. You weren’t dreaming

          It was an early concept though, sadly. I would much prefer red stripes to the green ones.

      2. Probably they differentiate like that for testing, but the definite marking will be up to the FIA to decide.

        Pirelli have already stated, they think the FIA will want to keep the green stripe thing.

  8. A small question, probably already raised elsewhere; but what would Pirelli have done if there hadn’t been the convenience of having a 2010-spec car which was not being used by any of the teams competing in 2010/2011? [Hispania’s now-defunct technical link-up notwithstanding]

    1. I don’t think it would have been a problem, If they couldn’t find a relatively recent F1 car, they would just have waited to the end of season tests.

    2. They are using the 09 Toyota anyway I think

    3. they might have gone for an older F1 car, maybe the last super aguri, for example?

      Or they would have discussed some solution with the teams about getting a car everyone agrees with (hard to tell what car that would be though), but the 2009 BMW might have been an option as well.

  9. Should make next season even more exiting, another variable for the teams to figure out

    1. Yeah, let’s wait and see if the old Mclaren tyre sim can handle the new Pirelli tyres – it was specially made to give the Woking outfit an advantage over the other teams when Bridgestone joined!

      1. I always thought it was odd/a shame that McLaren were the first front-running team (at the time) team to change to Bridgestone, because, let’s face it prior to 1997 they were the preserve of lower-running teams and then following their two title wins the Japanese company threw all their eggs in a red basket to the detriment of other teams until Michelin became a force in the mid-00’s.

  10. If you ever would want to do more of these videos in the future, I would absolutely jump at the chance to be involved. I can email you some more info with my resume and reel if you’d like.

  11. We Want Turbos
    23rd November 2010, 23:39

    The engine noise sounds similar the the merc engine in the mclaren after fitting the EBD, that may be the different tone.

  12. I think that the videos should have the following sound track:



  13. Great video’s. I love seeing footage of pre war racing, those guys were astonishing.

  14. Yup, Pirelli has sick racing heritage. It will be very interesting to see how they fare after so long an absence. Hopefully the compounds will be a tad less durable than the bridgestones of 2010 for obvious reasons. Though, I do see why it makes business sense for them to last. Ive never used them on the track, but back in the day had a few sets on sports cars that got driven hard as hell. They were less than stellar. The preferred set for the monster in My garage are Michelin pilot sport 2’s… They’re super grippy in the wet! I’ve used many…, Hankook, Pirelli, Yokohama, and the PS 2’s. Sorry Pirelli, The Michelins own em all.

  15. I just love watching those old cars slide like that, wonderful. Bring back narrow tyres! Sadly I doubt if we will ever see power slides again.

  16. anyone else notice that the last track the testing was at was catalunya? you dont mention it in the write up keith.

    1. how can you delete stupid comments? i didn’t see barcelona in that list….. forget me… im just an idiot.

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