Formula One last had tyre competition in 2006, between Michelin and Bridgestone, and the former has been linked to a potential return to Formula One. However Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost was adamant that the current single manufacturer arrangement should remain.
“I just hope that no tyre war will come,” said Tost, “that means no other tyre manufacturer.”
“Because this means that two teams will get the good tyres and the rest will get just the scrap. Because like it was before: when Michelin was in it was Renault, therefore Alonso has good memories, and Bridgestone with Ferrari, therefore Michael was so successful – one of the reasons.”
“If this comes back it’s the same story. Two tyre manufactures – two teams which get good tyres. Three tyre manufacturers – three teams, and the rest just get what the others don’t like.”
“That means the complete competition drive up in a complete other direction. Then we would have after now the ‘power unit Formula One’ we would have the ‘tyre Formula One’. Once the power units are sterilised we open the next problem.”
Force India’s Bob Fernley and Toto Wolff of Mercedes agreed, as did Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “One-make tyre is equality for all of the teams,” said Horner.
“I think that in the times of tyres wars of course effort does have to go behind your leading charge. And it will drive costs up immeasurably as you have to develop your car around a specific tyre. So I think it’s been one of the successes in having a sole tyre.”
Current official F1 tyre supplier Pirelli last faced competition in the sport in 1991, and motorsport director Paul Hembery did not rule out remaining involved if another tyre manufacturer came in.
“We’re involved in over 250 championships of which about 90, I think, are open competition,” said Hembery. “So it depends what the sport wants.”
“And then you’ve got to understand the rules, what the cost implications would be. Can’t really have an answer until we know the paramters. At the moment the tender will be for a single supplier.”
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