Pirelli: a story with an interesting beginning

Pirelli is a brand which is known primarily for its connection to tyres, sport, and motor-sports in particular (it's currently the Formula 1 sponsor and the official tyre supplier for the world superbike championships). Something that many people – racing fans included – may not know about the tyre giant is that Pirelli originally began as a company which made not only tyres but different kinds of elastic rubber products. Way back in 1872 when Giovanni Battista Pirelli founded the business it was the first rubber company of its kind in Italy. Since then, over the course of its history Pirelli has produced various types of products ranging from cables for energy and telecommunication to bicycle tyres, car tyres, and even pieces of scuba diving equipment. In fact, when the company first started it also specialised in making scuba diving rebreathers, a type of breathing apparatus that absorbs the carbon dioxide of a diver's exhaled breath to allow the rebreathing of unused oxygen content.  

From stylish signature to iconic logo

The red and yellow logo with the elongated P that stretches out over the other letters is instantly recognisable to motor-sports fans the world over due to the fact that the brand sponsors and supplies tyres to so many racing events. The logo was actually modelled on the real signatures of the company founder Giovanni Battista Pirelli and his sons Piero and Alberto who all used this particular feature when signing their names.

The Cal

Pirelli is a name which may ring a bell even for those who are unfamiliar with the worlds of tyres and racing, owing to the huge cultural impact of its famous calendar known as 'The Cal'. It is not possible to buy a copy – it's only given as a corporate gift to a select few Pirelli customers, celebrities and 'important' people. Despite this, the annual release is widely covered in the media and has become a cultural event due to the renowned photographers and chosen each year. Annie Lebovitz was commissioned to shoot the 2016 calendar and chose to shift from the style of the early years which showed semi-naked models and focus on admirable women and their accomplishments rather than sexuality. Similarly, in 2017 the calendar depicted fully dressed actors of all ages without heavy makeup, and the trend seems set to continue with the 2018 edition which will feature an all-black cast with an otherworldly Alice in Wonderland theme.

Circling back to cycling

Long before Formula One came into being in the post-war period, and even before the first Grand Prix in the late 1800s, Pirelli had already begun to make bicycle tyres. They produced the first ever tubular tyre for road racers in 1895, and went on to supply many cyclists in early 20th century editions of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. It was only later that they moved into the production of car tyres, which for many years remained the primary focus, to the point that their history in cycling is no longer widely known. However, it looks like Pirelli is circling back to its origins in the world of cycling with the decision to release a new range of tyres for bikes this year. There are three types each named for their function: Pzero Velo for road racing, Pzero Velo TT for time trials and a four-season tyre caleld Pzero Velo 4S.


One of the most important news coming from Pirelli concerns the IPO, namely the listing on the Italian stock exchange in Milan. The Pirelli IPO is “on working” since months, for a long time the Italian tire company is preparing to the event by improving its economic accounts (read Pirelli Reportedly Racing to Milan IPO Valued at Nearly $11 Billion) and working on approving the right transactions (read Pirelli and Marco Polo approve a transaction for IPO already from fourth quarter 2017). This is an event that will create interest around the industry experts, who believe that Pirelli’s IPO will be “the one” of the year in Italy and abroad.

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