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Pirelli & C. SpA
Type Società per azioni
Founded 1872
Founder(s) Giovanni Battista Pirelli
Headquarters Milan, Italy
Key people Marco Tronchetti Provera (Chairman and CEO), Alberto Pirelli (deputy chairman)
Industry Conglomerate
Products Tyres, environmental technology, environmental remediation, renewable energy technologies
Revenue (turnover) 4.848 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income €407.8 million (2010)[1]
Profit €21.8 million (2010)[1]
Total assets €5.619 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity €2.028 billion (end 2010)[1]
Employees 29,570 (end 2010)[1]
Subsidiaries Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.
Pirelli Labs S.p.A.
Pirelli & C. Eco Technology S.p.A.
Pirelli Ambiente S.p.A.

Pirelli & C. SpA is a diverse multinational company based in Milan, Italy. The company, the world’s fifth largest tyre manufacturer, is present in over 160 countries, has 20 manufacturing sites around the world and a network of around 10,000 distributors and retailers.


Founded 1872 in Milan by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, Pirelli initially specialised in rubber and derivative processes. The company formerly made scuba diving rebreathers.[2] Effectively, Pirelli's activities are still primarily focused on the production of tyres and cables (for energy and telecommunications). In 2005, Pirelli sold its cable division to investment bankers Goldman Sachs, which changed the new group's name to Prysmian.

In the 1950s, Alberto Pirelli commissioned the building of a famous Milanese skyscraper in the same area that housed the very first Pirelli factory during the 19th century: see Pirelli Tower[3]

In 1974, Pirelli invented the "wide radial tyre", upon a request from the Lancia rally racing team for a tyre strong enough to withstand the power of the new Lancia Stratos. At that time, racing tyres were either slick tyres made with the cross ply technique (very wide tyres with a reduced sidewall height), or radial tyres, which were too narrow to withstand the Stratos' power and did not provide enough grip. Both were unusable for the Lancia Stratos, as the radials were destroyed within 10 km, and the slicks too stiff. Lancia asked Pirelli for a solution, and in 1974 Pirelli created a wide tyre with a reduced sidewall height like a slick, but with a radial structure.

Subsequently, Porsche started using the same tyres with the award-winning Porsche 911 Turbo.[4]

Today, the wide tyres are still the standard in sport & racing cars in Europe.

Pirelli tyres are fitted to some models of tractor built by companies such as New Holland (who are owned by Italian company Fiat)


The iconic Pirelli Calendar is published annually, and regularly features famous actresses and fashion models. The calendar also features the work of many of the most respected fashion photographers in the world, including Herb Ritz, Richard Avedon, Mert & Marcus, Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz, and Patrick Demarchelier.

The Pirelli Internetional Award is given annually for the best international multimedia involving the communication of Science & Technology conducted entirely on the Internet.

Power is nothing without control is the well known slogan of Pirelli Tyre Company, and is featured in numerous television and print advertisements.

Pirelli is the long-serving main sponsor of Italian football club "F.C. Internazionale Milano".



Pirelli has a history of sponsoring football teams. Pirelli is well known for its long term primary sponsorship of the Italian football team 'Internazionale Milano F.C.'. Pirelli previously appeared as a sponsor on the shirts of the Maltese football club 'Valletta F.C.' for a short time. Pirelli's sponsorship of football teams not only happens in Europe, South America is a key market and as a result successful clubs South America have been sponsored by the tyre company. The Brazilan team 'Palmeiras', Uruguayan team 'Peñarol' and Argentinian side 'Vélez Sársfield' both had Pirelli as a shirt sponsor. When English Football League Two side Burton Albion Football Club built their new stadium in 2005, Pirelli became the title sponsor the new ground. This was because the new stadium, (named Pirelli Stadium) lies next to the Pirelli factory in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England. In 2009 Pirelli became the title sponsor of the Chinese Super League (CSL), China's top tier football league.


Pirelli also supports rallying with their 'Pirelli Star Driver' program as an initiative to support young rally drivers, organised by Pirelli and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).


Pirelli is the only allowed tyre brand in the FIM World Superbike Championship since 2007 (along with its support classes, such as the Supersport World Championship). Pirelli has also been awarded the contract for the control tyre supply in the British Superbike Championship from 2008 until at least 2010.[5][dated info] Pirelli were also the official tyre supplier of the World Rally Championship replacing BF Goodrich for the 2008 season, with all cars using Pirelli tyres and wearing Pirelli decals until the company withdrew to focus on its Formula 1 commitments at the end of the 2010 season.

Pirelli is the sole tyre supplier in Formula One, following Bridgestone's decision to withdraw from the role at the end of 2010.[6][7][8] Pirelli previously competed in Formula One from 1950-1958, 1981-1986 and 1989-1991.

Year Official test drivers
2010 Germany Nick Heidfeld & Spain Pedro de la Rosa
2011 Spain Pedro de la Rosa & Brazil Lucas di Grassi
2012 Brazil Lucas di Grassi & Spain Jaime Alguersuari

Overseas investment

In April 2012, Pirelli & C. SpA signed joint venture agreement with Indonesian counterpart PT Astra Autoparts a subsiadiary of PT Astra International for the construction of a motorcycle tyre plant with a total investment of $120 million. 60 percent shares will be held by Pirelli. Pirelli hopes to strengthen its presence in the largest motorcycle market in the world, the Southeast Asia region which has 250 million motorcycles.[9]

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Annual Report 2010". Pirelli & C.. Retrieved on 3 May 2011.
  2. Coates, JK; Kincaid, TC; Lanphier, EH (1952), "Evaluation of the Pirelli Underwater Oxygen Breathing Equipment for Use in the Naval Service.", Navy Experimental Diving Unit Technical Report NEDU-RR-2-52, Retrieved on . 
  3. Skyscrapers, Antonino Terranova, White Star Publishers, 2003 (ISBN-8880952307)
  4. [1][dead link]
  5. British Superbikes 2007[dead link]
  6. "Bridgestone to Cease Tire Supply to the FIA Formula One World Championship", Bridgestone (2009-11-02). Retrieved on 2009-11-02. 
  7. "World Motor Sport Council: 23 June 2010". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (2010-06-23). Retrieved on 2010-06-23.
  8. Collantine, Keith (2010-06-23). "Pirelli return to F1 after 20-year absence", F1 Fanatic, Keith Collantine. Retrieved on 2010-06-23. 
  9. "Indonesia welcomes Pirelli, Italian touch for local shoes" (April 25, 2012).

External links

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