From the road to Formula 1 since 1872

Every since my grandpa bought his very first car, Italian mechanics have been suggesting Pirelli tires, no matter what. Not only do they say they are the safest tires around, but they are also part of an extremely long Italian tradition, that has been passed down from generation to generation.

 

A Pirelli tire during the vulcanization process in the 1930s | Photo courtesy Pirelli

A Pirelli tire during the vulcanization process in the 1930s | Photo courtesy Pirelli

 

That these tires are the best is proven by the fact that our beloved Ferrari Formula 1 racing cars use them to speed ahead in the Grand Prix races. The technological innovation of Pirelli dates back to the dawn of the auto industry in the late 19th century, when the first pioneering attempts were made to render solid rubber tires obsolete.

 

pirelli-french-grand-prix-1921

Pirelli advertisement and Pirelli tires during the French Grand Prix of 1921 | Photo courtesy Pirelli

 

When Pirelli was founded by the 24 year old Giovanni Battista Pirelli in 1872, the company made all kinds of rubber products, including rain coats and boots, but since 1908 Pirelli has been synonymous with high-performance tires. From the pre-war Stella Bianca racing tire to the Stelvio, a durable tire for the motorized masses Pirelli has been making tires that excel on and off the racetrack. From the Cinturato radial tire of the 1950s and on to today’s hybrid ultra-high-performance P Zero tires, Pirelli leads a tradition of tire innovation.

 

An ad from 1953 for Pirelli raincoats

An ad from 1953 for Pirelli raincoats

An ad for the pre-war Stella Bianca tires | Courtesy Pirelli

An ad for the pre-war Stella Bianca tires | Courtesy Pirelli

The long history of Pirelli as a winning competition tire, which started in 1907 when they were used by the champion of the Peking-Paris race, has come full circle as for 2011-13 Pirelli Tire will be the exclusive supplier for Formula One racing. Today, Pirelli is the fifth largest tire manufacturer in the world and is sold in over 160 countries.

 

A French ad for Pirelli tires

A French ad for Pirelli tires

 

In line with a tradition dating back more than a century, Pirelli brings approximately 1,800 tires to every Grand Prix and 52 people work at each race to give the teams the best possible support. Each team has a dedicated Pirelli tire engineer and tire fitter who work closely with them all through the year.

 

Nino Farina and Ascari at the first FIA Formula One World Drivers Championship in 1950.  Farina would go on to win the Championship. | Photo courtesy Pirelli

Nino Farina and Alberto Ascari at the first FIA Formula One World Drivers Championship in 1950. Farina would go on to win the Championship. | Photo courtesy Pirelli

 

In September 1922, the inaugural race of the famous Monza Formula One Italian Grand Prix racetrack was won with Pirelli tires.  Exactly 90 years later in September 2012, all the cars in the race were outfitted with Pirelli tires. It’s the perfect example of the important role Pirelli has had in writing the history of sports racing and it represents an Italian tradition that I’m glad my grandfather has shared with me as the family gathers in front of the TV to watch the latest race.

 

Pirelli & Ferrari

Pirelli & Ferrari today

 

 

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