Impact of F1 on perception of Pirelli's road tires

P1

Podium Finisher
Pirelli, like Michelin and Bridgestone before them, came into F1 with the hope that it would help them sell more tires. Their reputation as a performance tire manufacturer lagged Michelin and Bridgestone, and despite buying OEM fitments, many believed that tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport 2 and Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position offered better performance, durability and consistency (the three criteria tire buyers care about, with performance having many sub dimensions as well).

I am a believer that F1 sponsorship does influence purchasing behavior. I for example ran Bridgestone tires on my BMWs for many years, my favorite tire being the Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position S-03.

A few years after Michelin's success in F1, I decided to try the Michelin Pilot Sport 2. I developed the perception that the extreme performance and durability they were delivering in F1 had to provide some learnings for their road tires, if not directly then at least through the acquisition of top tire engineering talent. Since 2009 I have been running their Pilot Super Sports - an amazing tire - leveraging their LeMans experience to deliver outstanding wet and dry performance, superior contact patch, and durability. Further they have a reputation for consistency which is unsurpassed among amateur track racing enthusiasts.

Now let's fast forward to today. Pirelli has been in this game for a few years. Would I try a Pirelli P Zero or a P Zero System over the Michelin Pilot Super Sports currently fitted to my BMW M5. The answer is no. It is partially no because the reviews suggest the tire is not as good. However I believe that underlying this, Pirelli hasn't leveraged it's F1 or other racing presences to push the bounds of durability, consistency and grip. They may have focused on the spectacle, but if you're making tires designed to fall apart to entertain audiences, then it's hard to argue you are learning things that transfer to your road tire program.

To me the weak performance of the P Zeros compared with their Michelin and Bridgestone counterparts is a function of the fact that Pirelli still has an inferior engineering team to Michelin, and it is clear that their F1 objectives will not contribute to solving this.

So I guess it's still Michelin vs. Bridgestone on the roads, regardless of what is happening in F1.

Thoughts?
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
From a personal perspective the tyres used in F1 make no difference to the choice I make for my road car. My Prius has Michelin's as that was fitted when it was made and I want the same tyre on all four corners. I had a Lexus which used Goodyear tyres and they were pretty good. However, if I were choosing tyres for the best sport performance chances are I would seriously consider Pirelli but that might just be my age as they were used exclusively on Ferrari road cars when I was a kid.
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
I think the impact is being exaggerated a fair bit, as it is just publicity for Pirelli. Being the tyre provider for the most famous racing series is bound to increase the customer numbers for the company. Besides, if the impact on Pirelli was so bad, why do they want to renew their F1 contract next year?
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
In some booklet I read in the tyre shop I worked in, they tested about 12 of them and Bridgestone beat only the two awful Chinese brands. Conti's and Michelins are the way to go, but Conti's are a bit cheaper. Pirelli were quite good until the rain tests.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
It is very difficult to compare tyres. Many high performance cars come with summer-only tyres, while more mundane transportation usually come with all-weather rubber. I find it curious that so many people ignore Dunlop, who make excellent tyres.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
My tyres of choice are made by Adidas

 

P1

Podium Finisher
From a personal perspective the tyres used in F1 make no difference to the choice I make for my road car. My Prius has Michelin's as that was fitted when it was made and I want the same tyre on all four corners. I had a Lexus which used Goodyear tyres and they were pretty good. However, if I were choosing tyres for the best sport performance chances are I would seriously consider Pirelli but that might just be my age as they were used exclusively on Ferrari road cars when I was a kid.

Doesn't sound like you are a performance car enthusiast so thats why it makes no difference. If you drive Prius, I would imagine you care more about things like ride quality, price and tire life.
 

P1

Podium Finisher
I think the impact is being exaggerated a fair bit, as it is just publicity for Pirelli. Being the tyre provider for the most famous racing series is bound to increase the customer numbers for the company. Besides, if the impact on Pirelli was so bad, why do they want to renew their F1 contract next year?

I don't know. I am a member of several performance car clubs and often go to track events. Picture of me with a McLaren here at PBIR here.

The guys I tend to run into do pay attention to how tire manufacturers do in racing series. I am certain among this crowd, Michelin and Bridgestone both built credibility through their F1 presence. So far Pirelli has not.

It is very difficult to compare tyres. Many high performance cars come with summer-only tyres, while more mundane transportation usually come with all-weather rubber. I find it curious that so many people ignore Dunlop, who make excellent tyres.

Dunlop's tires are good but they are neither the best nor the cheapest right now. My other car came with Dunlops, and while good I swapped them out for Michelin PSS immediately and sold the OEM tires on ebay.

 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I assume Pirelli are keenly keeping an eye on this. I've always been sceptical about the effect suppliers' involvement in F1 has on business - compared to the price factor. I saw a survey a couple of years ago in which a majority of respondents thought Goodyear were still in F1...

If Pirelli find a negative effect and decide not to continue their involvement, the FIA could have a real problem. Back to Bernie's Avons?
 

P1

Podium Finisher
I assume Pirelli are keenly keeping an eye on this. I've always been sceptical about the effect suppliers' involvement in F1 has on business - compared to the price factor. I saw a survey a couple of years ago in which a majority of respondents thought Goodyear were still in F1...

If Pirelli find a negative effect and decide not to continue their involvement, the FIA could have a real problem. Back to Bernie's Avons?

I think the price factor is valid in the mass market - I.e. touring and grand touring all season tires which are designed to provide high mileage and long tread life. I don't think price is the driver when it comes to Max Perfomance Summer Tires. If you buy a Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position or S001 then you are paying a premium for Performance - specifically lap times and cornering Gs, and to some extent durability (number of track hours per tire set).

I do think tire reviews and tests like those done by TireRack count more than F1 sponsorship. However I think the linkage of F1 sponsorship to sales is 2 fold: (1) it drives consideration and therefore trial, (2) if your F1 effort is focused on increasing lap times and durability you may learn things applicable to your road tires to increase their lap times.
 

Greenlantern101

Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Contributor
personally I couldn't give a monkeys what tyres are on F1 cars. When I need rubber for my road car I always check the yearly autoexpress tyre review and buy the cheapest from the top 3. Normally the Vredestein.

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/accessories-tyres/60111/tyre-test-2012

tooncheese On the subject of Bridgestone, I have had them on two different cars and ditched them each time before they were worn. They are outright dangerous in the wet. If you have them on your car. Change them For another make and your cars handling will be transformed in the wet.
 
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