Pirelli tipped for new tire deal

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Pirelli have signed a new deal with the FIA to remain as F1’s official tire supplier for the next five years, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Italian tire manufacturer rejoined F1 in 2011 and its original three-year deal was set to expire this year.

Pirelli has already signed a contract with Bernie Ecclestone and has believed to have made arrangements with several teams. However it was lacking a commitment from the sport’s governing body.

FIA president Jean Todt was rumored to be considering a bid from Michelin to replace Pirelli. Todt, who is now facing a challenge to his presidency from rival David Ward, told media on Saturday that “everyone wants Pirelli”.

Pirelli has endured a turbulent time since returning to F1 as it has borne the burden the sports’ desire to create more unpredictable racing by providing challenging tire compounds.

However the fragile nature of this year’s tires provoked complaints from some teams. At Silverstone several drivers suffered high-speed tire failures, leading Pirelli to redesign this year’s constructions and supply more conservative rubber.

With a major change in the technical rules arriving next year, teams are understood to prefer sticking with a known quantity in terms of tire supplier. Michelin also had problems during their last tenure in F1, with all the users of they tires having to withdraw from the 2005 United States Grand Prix on safety grounds, leaving just six runners on Bridgestone tires to participate.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”