As an icon of motorsport in the 1950s, the Stella Bianca is still in production now to offer perfect originality to classic cars.
In Italian, ‘Stella Bianca’ means ‘white star’. But in the world of tires, Stella Bianca is synonymous with Pirelli – and specifically, the golden age of motor racing. Back in 1950, when the Formula 1 world championship was new and Giuseppe Farina won the first race – a birthday being celebrated during the second weekend of August at Silverstone’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – the tire on his Alfa Romeo was a Pirelli Stella Bianca. A little white star on the sidewall distinguished it: a motif shared with the road-going tires carrying the same name.
Like Alfa Romeo in those early years, Pirelli tires were dominant throughout the first seasons of Formula 1: also winning with Ferrari and Maserati to infuse a deeply Italian flavor into the beginnings of the world’s premier motorsport category. To this day, Alfa Romeo and Pirelli is the only combination to have been around from the very beginning.
Pirelli’s Formula 1 slick tires of the modern era are called P Zero, while Cinturato is the name of the wet-weather tires. Now – 70 years after it first raced in Formula 1 at Silverstone – the famous Stella Bianca name is back. Both on the track and on the road, exemplifying the symbiosis that has always inextricably linked Pirelli’s road-going products to the tires it makes for the world’s circuits.
Stella Bianca is a star
Not only is the Stella Bianca tire one of the stars of Silverstone, it’s also still very much present on the road. Two years ago, a road-going version of the Stella Bianca tire was relaunched: part of the Pirelli Collezione family of vintage tires, which combine classic looks with modern technology. Pirelli’s Collezione range, which is expanding all the time, now equips a huge variety of classic cars, from post-war legends to modern classics of the 1990s.
These tires are designed to help drivers of classic cars enjoy their vehicles in exactly the same way that the original owners once did, back when they were new. All the Collezione tires are produced in limited quantities, as are Pirelli’s motorsport tires. Stella Bianca stands out because it’s currently the only tire Pirelli makes using a traditional cross-ply construction, after years of making radial tires. And some new sizes will be launched later in the year, opening up the Stella Bianca to even more motoring enthusiasts.
Unlike the 1950s, the top Formula 1 stars won’t be racing on the iconic Stella Bianca this time: only admiring it from a distance. But they’ll still be able to appreciate the rich history that helped make their sport into the truly global spectacle of today. With Pirelli at the heart of it, right from the very beginning.