Research and development activities

Pirelli has always placed the ability to innovate products, processes and materials at the centre of its growth strategy.

In 2014, research and development expenses totalled euro 205.5 million corresponding to 3.4% of sales; those related to Premium were euro 174.5 million (6.9% of Premium revenues). Research and development focused on high-end products with significant results in terms of homologations. In 2014 Pirelli confirms its leadership in high-end Original Equipment with 266 new homologations, of which 213 regarding Premium and Prestige. Particular attention was paid to the marked products that obtained 118 new homologations among the most prestigious and high performance cars such as, for example, Ferrari California, Porsche Macan and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Electronics in the tyre (like the microchip contained in the Cyber Tyre that allows reading the different road conditions by sending to the vehicle information critical to the trim and driving safety) is a route of the Premium innovation strategy of Pirelli. CYBER FLEET™ is the innovative monitoring system developed by Pirelli for truck fleets. Thanks to a telematic box and special sensors applied on the inner surfaces of tyres in fact, the system transmits to the central infrastructure the values of the state of the tyres. This way, they monitor the main operating parameters such as pressure and temperature in real time reporting the situation to the fleet manager warning also in case of a puncture or other hazardous events.

The activity traditionally focused on the development of new Premium and high-end products was accompanied by increasing attention to reducing environmental impact. The leadership in green materials is developed mainly through research in biomaterials (silica from rice, natural rubber from alternative sources of tree rubber) and recycling.

Pirelli has been confirmed the sole supplier for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2016. In July, in Silverstone, the first track test was held for the new 18-inch Pirelli tyre concept. The new tyres have been designed and built following the Pirelli Premium strategy. The 18-inch tyre looks bigger and more alike the Ultra High Performance road tyres, increasing the transfer of technology even more than today. The experience in Formula 1 allowed to develop within the R&D of Pirelli new simulation models that allow further reduction of the 'time-to-market' and improvement of the quality of designs related to road products, making them more performing and in line with the highest requirements and to improve dynamic understanding, depending on the temperature of work and the behaviour of materials.