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GP Week : Issue 88
ITALIAN firm Pirelli has won the contract to become Formula One's official tyre supplier from next season, replacing current suppliers Bridgestone who withdraw from the sport after November's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Pirelli had been in the running with French company Michelin for the 2011 deal and after months of protracted negotiations, the FIA finally confirmed the deal was done on Wednesday. Pirelli has agreed to supply teams with four different specifications of dry-weather tyre in 2011 and two different wet-weather tyres, similar to this year's regulations, while they will also stick to the current 13-inch rims. A change to 18-inch rims is being planned for 2013. Pirelli will also have to abide by a technical document prepared by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), specifying various tyre characteristics that they require, such as sidewall stiffness, giving the teams enough information to design their 2011 cars before ever seeing a Pirelli tyre. Teams have also agreed to fix the weight distribution of next year's cars, meaning all teams will suffer equally from any imbalace in Pirelli's rubber. Drivers and team personnel alike have welcome Pirelli's selection, underlining that the return of such a prestigious brand to Formula One can only be a positive. Pirelli beats Michelin to 2011 tyre deal F1 NEWS >> UNDER-fire Mercedes GP driver Michael Schumacher says he remains committed to seeing out his three- year deal, despite a disappointing start to his much-publicised Formula One return his season. The German finished a career-worst 15th in Valencia on Sunday, adding further fuel to the fire of impending re-retirement. Speaking to the press on Saturday after a dismal qualifying, Schumacher insisted that his focus was on the three years and that hanging up his helmet was not a consideration: "I am long enough around and I have had to deal with much worse pain," he quipped to reporters. "I am not here with the short-term view that I just go race-to-race and I have to have a single race. It is something we are programming on. "From my point of view, I have a three- year programme. Obviously we thought we would be closer, nearer and in a better situation this year, but that is not the case. So we have to understand and I have to work my way through as I did in the past and that is what we are here for." Schumacher was highly-criticised for his scrappy Canadian Grand Prix performance after finishing 11th, and 15th place in Valencia makes it two consecutive races without a points finish. With a 93-point deficit to championship leader Lewis Hamilton, rumblings about Schumacher's future will only continue unless the German can up his game. "I'm here for three years!" Schumacher not budging despite lacklustre 2010 9