Chances are you’ve heard of Pirelli Tyres and if you have watched a Formula One race lately then you’ve also seen Pirelli tyres in action. The world’s fifth-largest tyre manufacturer, Pirelli is one of the oldest tyre companies, second only to Continental. Their tyres have been used in the World Rally Championship, and several other famous auto races.
Pirelli was founded as Pirelli & C in 1872 by engineer Giovanni Battista Pirelli, and was started as a company dealing in a wide variety of rubber products and related processes. The company eventually moved towards designing and making tyres, and released its first tyre, named ‘The Ercole’ in 1901.
In 1974 Pirelli were asked to create a tyre for use on the wheels of the new Lancia Stratos, which required tyres much stronger than the current standard. Pirelli combined aspects from the two main tyre designs at the time (slick and radial tyres), and created the ‘wide radial tyre’, which provided enough grip to withstand the power of the Stratos.
In 2010 Pirelli became the sole tyre supplier for the Formula One World Championship, after Bridgestone withdrew from the role.
The Pirelli International Award
From its creation in 1996 to the start of the award’s hiatus in 2008, Pirelli sponsored the annual Pirelli International Award. The awards were given to the best multimedia presentations focussing on themes involving the distribution of science and technology.
President of the Pirelli Group, Marco Tronchetti Provera stated that the award “was established in the belief that the diffusion of social, economic, and technological advances are just as important as their discovery”.
The awards were judged by an international jury, which included Nobel Prize laureates. The overall prize pool was 105,000 euro, which is almost $150,000.
In 2008 it was announced that the awards would no longer be awarded on an annual basis, however it was not stated when or if they would be awarded again.
Pirelli is sold in 160 countries around the world.