AUSTIN, Texas — In recognition of breast cancer awareness month, Pirelli Tyre is using pink as the sidewall color for the "ultrasoft" race tire option for this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix Formula 1 race in Austin.
Pirelli's use of pink on the race tires is largely symbolic, but it focuses attention on Formula 1 promoter Liberty Media's and Circuit of the Americas' decision to support the Susan G. Komen organization — which has funded more than $950 million toward breast cancer research since 1982 — at the U.S. Grand Prix.
The parties are teaming up for "Drive for the Cure," a take on Komen's "Walk for the Cure" fund-raising walks all around the country.
Sean Bratches, managing director, commercial operations at Formula 1, called this initiative a "ground-breaking partnership" that seeks to tap into a viewing audience of 500 million-plus race fans to help elevate awareness for the cause.
"This is an opportunity to use the Formula 1 platforms as a force for social good and rally support for the fight against breast cancer…," Mr. Bratches said. "It is gratifying to see the entire Formula 1 community, from the teams, drivers, the FIA, sponsors and broadcasters, unite and focus its collective will to give back."
Christina Alford, senior vice president of development, at the Komen foundation, said, "Formula 1 has provided us an exciting new platform on which to raise our voices about the reality of people living with metastatic disease and the researchers trying to end it."
She noted that Komen's mission this year has been to focus attention on metastatic breast cancer, which is blamed for nearly all the 40,000 women and men who die from this disease every year in the U.S.
Komen seeks to cut the number of breast-cancer deaths in the U.S. in half by 2026.
Pirelli uses colored striping on the sidewalls of the F1 race tires nominated for each race to let fans know which of the option tires is being used by which drivers. The ultrasoft option normally has a purple sidewall stripe.
The Komen organization and the Austin race track owners, Circuit of the Americas, are raising money for the cause with an online raffle for tickets to one of two concerts being held at the track during the Grand Prix weekend, either with Justin Timberlake or Stevie Wonder as headliners, or for a three-day paddock pass for the Formula 1 race.
The donations are: $25 for one entry; $100 for five entries; and $200 for 10 entries.
Komen notes that $25 will cover a ride to the doctor for a breast cancer patient; $100 will cover a mammogram; and $200 is good for diagnostic services for a breast-cancer patient.
Formula 1 and Susan G. Komen also have set up a dedicated landing page on the foundation's web site to encourage donations. Supporters are encouraged to share stories on social media using the hashtag #DriveForTheCure. Learn more by tuning in to NBC on October 21-22 and visiting www.komen.org/F1.
It's expected that pink will be featured prominently at the Austin circuit throughout the Grand Prix weekend, which runs Oct. 20-22.