Formula 1’s official tyre supplier, Pirelli, is set to change hands next month following news that China’s state-owned China National Chemicals (ChemChina) has launched a takeover bid.
The Italian company has been F1’s sole supplier since 2011 and has a contract through to 2016, when a new tender will be released.
The deal will see ChemChina’s own tyre division, China National Tire & Rubber, take ownership of a 26.2 per cent stake currently controlled by the family of chairman Marco Tronchetti, before launching a bid to acquire the remaining shares.
The takeover values the company at £5.1 billion ($7.7bn, €7bn).
ChemChina will appoint a new chairman whilst Tronchetti, who began working at the company in 1986 after marrying a member of the Italian family that founded Pirelli, will remain in his role of chief exectuive.
It’s unclear what affect the sale might have on Pirelli’s involvement in the sport and whether a change in chairman and future objectives could see it pulling out of any future tenders.