INKING THE DEAL: Pirelli is relieved to have gotten the FIA's signature to be F1's tyre supplier for the next few seasons. Image: AFP
London - Pirelli has admitted to relief that, after a long delay, its presence in Formula 1 beyond 2016 has finally been confirmed.
The Italian marque actually secured a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone for 2017 until 2019 late last year, but it could not be made official until a separate contract with the governing FIA has also been signed and sealed.
Importance of FIA's approval
Pirelli spokesman Roberto Boccafogli told reporters in Baku, after issuing a press release about the FIA contract: "It is the final step of a very long path.
"We knew already for quite a long time that we are remaining in F1, but when it gets officialised by the FIA it becomes really true," he added.
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Pirelli has already started work on its significantly bigger and wider tyres for 2017, which were unveiled to the media in Monaco a few weeks ago.
Boccafogli said actual testing of the tyres, fitted to specially-modified 2015 cars prepared by F1's top three teams, will begin in August.
Boccafogli confirmed: "We have 25 days testing with these wider tyres. Many details still need to be fixed and it is a very big job to be done."