F1 Tyre War Hots Up As Bridgestone Asked To Stay, Kumho Enter Race
The fight to become a Formula One tyre manufacturer for 2011 has hotted up significantly following a series of meetings over the course of the weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix.
As we know, Michelin have submitted an application with new technical regulations at the heart, and have reduced their asking cost by almost half to appeal more to Bernie Ecclestone. British manufacturer Avon have submitted an application too, along with a new tender from Pirelli the Italian manufacturer of rubber.
However the teams have asked if Bridgestone will reconsider their decision to quit and the Japanese manufacturer is considering the move.
Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren and FOTA says that he wants Michelin or Bridgestone to be the supplier, because there is no data for Avon or Pirelli. While the latter manufacturers are asking less money for their package which would appeal to smaller teams he fears they may end up spending more to develop, or even hinder their performance more than currently.
“The big teams would hire their own engineers to generate data about the tyres themselves,” he said. “The small teams could not afford it and we would have a two-class society.”
He is also concerned that a tyre war would drive costs up again.
“We like competition in all forms but we have to be mindful, is this controlling costs?” he said. “The last time we had tyre competition it was massively expensive. We have to be mindful that we must keep a grid of 10 or probably 12 teams in F1, and many of those teams are not fit for that level of competition at the moment.”
Meanwhile to make matters worse, Kumho the South Korean manufacturer has said it is applying to enter the race to be a manufacturer.