The news, although not yet officially announced, has been confirmed by Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery in an interview with Autosport. According to the executive, the main reason behind the retirement is the fact that the tire maker wants to focus on its new engagement with Formula 1, but also as a result of the disagreements between the sanctioning body and the supplier.
"In December we tendered for another three-year deal to supply tires for WRC. Once again, our tender was set out to provide finance for continued investment in the FIA, in the sport's promoter and, of course in the Pirelli Star Driver scheme which we financed from its inception in 2008,” Hembery was quoted as saying by Autosport.
"That three-year tender was rejected and we were offered a one-year extension on the same terms as the current three-year deal, then a one-year deal on the new tender conditions - that was something we felt was unacceptable.”
As said, Pirelli spot is already being targeted by Michelin, who said today through the voice of Nick Shorrock, Michelin’s competitions manager, that the company has already approached the FIA and stated its goal.
More on the subject is expected to surface throughout the day and, as usual, autoevolution will be online for further updates.