Racing Spirit interviews Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola

Whether it’s on a permanent track or on a rally special stage, you can be sure every weekend Pirelli is somewhere in action. The Italian company is involved in tire supply at every level of the racing scene, from the global showcase offered by Formula 1 and World Rally Championship to the national series where passion leads.

For Pirelli, the competition represents a technological lab, a way to constantly push the limits with an all-around commitment. To understand what it means, we interviewed the company’s Motorsport Director Mario Isola. Moreover, he told us what added value is given by the partnership with Racing Spirit.

2023 is the second year in which the motorsport-inspired Racing Force Group clothing brand supports all the Pirelli Motorsport staff, with leading-edge technical and travel gear developed to satisfy the professionals’ needs in every situation.

Mario, the season is now in full swing as major championships such as Formula 1 and the WRC got underway. As always, Pirelli is in action across many contexts.
“In 2023 we are involved in more than 230 car championships across the globe. If we add the motorcycle series, the total count is 350: it’s a huge commitment, as Pirelli believes and invests in motorsport a lot.”

What are the benefits of participating in so many different disciplines?
“Our motorsport programs enable us to gather and bring home plenty of data to develop the tires for the production vehicles. In Formula 1, which is the apex of motorsport technology, with the fastest cars and the biggest amount of sensors, we acquire a lot of information to validate our simulation models. We are strongly present in GT racing too, with models derived from the road supercars we normally supply, while rally and off-road activities give us experience on conditions such as snow, ice, and gravel. Our 360-degree commitment to motorsport is translated into know-how for the products we design for everyday customers.”

What’s the hardest technological challenge you are facing in 2023?
“Last year we were in front of important changes, such as the introduction of 18-inch tires in Formula 1, which was a historical transition. This season, a bit everywhere, we have instead more stability in the rules, but this does not mean our task is easier. We still have targets to achieve, and with our products, we follow the performance evolution of the cars. There are several championships, for example, where the adoption of new models is being evaluated, or where new goals are required. Our development work never stops.”

A so-extended commitment brings a big personnel deployment as well, together with a huge logistical and organisational effort.
“During the season, we have weekends with more than 200 people in action at the major race venues. I remember some weekends, as usually happens in July, when there was a Formula 1 Grand Prix with 70 members circa on track, for F2 and F3 too, and the Spa 24 Hours was concomitant with another 130 people at work for us. And sometimes there was a WRC race too, with 25 to 30 of our staff. This is without forgetting other series, where we can count on local referents. This can offer a clear idea about the scale of the Pirelli Motorsport effort, also considering that in recent years, some unexpected global factors challenged us even more.”

Racing Force Group supplies the Pirelli staff with Racing Spirit clothing, capable of responding to the most varied needs.
“This is a crucial factor. We must guarantee our personnel operate comfortably, and the Racing Spirit technical gear covers all the conditions we could face. We can range from the Swedish Rally, with -20 °C temperatures, to the ultra-hot summer Formula 1 races. Always having the right equipment is essential, and travel gear is no less important to give our men and women the highest comfort while moving from one event to another.”

In motorsport, excellence and progress are pursued on every side. Thanks to high-quality clothing, Pirelli personnel can offer an even better service to championships, teams, and drivers.
“We know our travelling staff is under great pressure, so we think of everything that helps them feel at ease and serenely pass the time. In the best conditions, we can all give something more, and clothing can play a key part.”