Pirelli takes on Formula 4 tyre supply
Pirelli has been unveiled as the new tyre supplier to the BRDC Formula 4 Championship. The deal, agreed with BRDC F4 creator and promoter MotorSport Vision, Pirelli will fit P Zero brand tyres to all the MSV F4-013 cars from 2015. The new deal was revealed today at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. The series had been supplied for its first two years by Yokohama, though the series’ goal of becoming a Formula One feeder series would have made the current F1 supplier’s tyres an attractive proposition.
The new tyres have been developed specifically for junior single-seater racing by Pirelli engineers in Milan and incorporate learning from Pirelli’s participation in Formula One and feeder categories GP2 and GP3. The tyres will be distributed from Pirelli’s logistics hub in Didcot, Oxfordshire – regarded as a “centre of excellence” in motorsport.
BRDC F4 is the brainchild of ex-grand prix driver Jonathan Palmer, whose son Jolyon won the 2014 GP2 title using Pirelli tyres. The 2015 BRDC F4 season comprises 24 races over eight weekends, on a variety of well-known British circuits. To promote accessibility, budgets are designed to be no more than £120,000 for a season, and many frontrunners spend significantly less.
The Pirelli tyres for BRDC F4, which are fitted to a 2-litre Duratec-powered car generating 185bhp, will be tested over a 20-minute qualifying session and three 20-minute races. The grid for race one is based on qualifying order with the grid for race two determined by the finishing order of race one with the top eight positions reversed: the same format used by GP2 and GP3. The grid for the third race is finalised by the order of fastest laps.
To underline the importance of BRDC F4 to rising talents, George Russell, the 2014 champion, won the coveted McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, which carries a cash prize of £100,000 and a test in a McLaren Formula One car. Furthermore, the competitive nature of BRDC F4 was demonstrated when 10 different drivers claimed race wins in 2014.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery, who launched the partnership on the Pirelli stand at Autosport International, commented: “We’re delighted to be involved in this innovative formula, which gives drivers the opportunity to take their first steps in motorsport with a perfect compromise between costs and performance. This latest initiative underlines our company-wide philosophy of providing young drivers with opportunities to progress within motorsport, all the way to the very highest levels of competition.”