Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery says he still has his sights set on a return to the World Rally Championship, despite the company entering Formula 1.
The tire manufacturer will remain in the WRC next season, continuing to supply rubber to the WRC Academy – which its Pirelli Star Driver scheme will remain part of – but its three-year agreement for the control tire has ended and the Italian firm elected not to return to WRC full time in 2011.
"It was with a very heavy heart that we left Wales after the last rally," said Hembery. "We have supported the WRC since its inception in 1973 and we still have a huge passion for the sport of rallying. Yes, we are in Formula 1 next season, but we're certainly not about to forget about the WRC."
Hembery said the firm would look at the WRC's technical regulations regarding tires for 2012 and hope to be back for the start of that season.
"I want us to be back [in WRC] in 2012," said Hembery. "Once those regulations are out, we will study them carefully and begin – if the conditions are right – to prepare ourselves. We have a program of continued development to maintain our knowledge in rallying through this season."
Hembery admitted a selected program of IRC was a possibility for Pirelli.
"We started four IRC rounds, won three and finished second on one of them this season," he said. "We have a pretty good record in the open competition of IRC this year. We'll be looking at that next season, but no decisions have been made."