It is now almost 20 years since Pirelli scored its most recent grand prix victory. Then, Nelson Piquet’s Benetton-Ford took a lucky victory in the 1991 Canadian GP at Montreal after Nigel Mansell’s Michelin-shod Williams ground to a halt on the very last lap.
Now the famous Italian tyre brand is back on the grand prix beat, having last week completed a two day inaugural test at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.
So where does Pirelli rank in terms of grand prix victories already scored? Well, a rather modest six out of eight among the winners of world championship qualifying rounds. Although the statistics are slightly scrambled by the fact that Firestone’s 11 wins at the Indy 500 between 1950 and 60 are counted as qualifying, the Brickyard classic at that time being a round of the world championship.
So, taking that into account, the statistics as they stand this week are: Goodyear, 368 wins; Bridgestone, 175 wins; Michelin, 93 wins; Dunlop, 83 wins; Firestone, 49 wins; Pirelli, 42 wins; and Continential and Englebert on 10 wins apiece.
Of course, some of these wins were achieved under monopoly supply conditions, others during the course of an unridled tyre war between two or more manufacturers.