Pirelli has warned teams that it will pull out of Formula 1 at the end of the year unless it gets an answer soon on whether they want a fresh contract from 2014.
Talks between the Italian tire manufacturer and the teams about a new deal have stalled in recent weeks, and Pirelli says time is running out on it being able to produce tires in time to be fully ready for the new 2014 regulations.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, said in Monaco on Thursday that F1 was facing an "extremely serious" situation, and that if the matter was not resolved very quickly then his company would find it impossible to make new tires in time.
"Apparently on September 1, we are meant to tell them [the teams] everything that they need to know with the tires for next season, but now we are in mid-May," he explained. "You can imagine how ludicrous that is when we have not got contracts in place. Maybe we won't be here..."
Pirelli is already understood to have agreed a commercial deal with F1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone about remaining in the sport, but there has still been no word from the FIA about its plans to put the tire contract out to bidding. Furthermore, Pirelli's attempts to finalize individual contracts with the teams have been thwarted by a number of squads being reluctant to accept the terms being offered.
Hembery said that his Pirelli bosses had already set an internal deadline for when they needed an answer. Although he refused to divulge when that was, he said that teams had to wake up to the long lead time his company needed if it was going to be prepared to stay in F1.
"I have always said we will never declare an internal deadline but clearly time is already too late," he said. "Things are getting, as far as we can, extremely serious because the changes next year are substantial.
"The sport has to make a rapid decision because aside from having the fixed resources in the business involved in F1, there is also a technical job. We need to do a technical job as well.
"It is not just a case of maybe putting a harder compound on to this year's tires – the changes are so dramatic that we will need to do a thorough re-engineering of the tire. That takes time, so the longer is goes on it makes our job impossible. There comes a time where we will not have time to do the job any more."