The FIA has confirmed two bidders for a 2020 F1 tyre contract, with Hankook set to rival current suppliers Pirelli. Pirelli has been F1’s tyre supplier since 2011, and its current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020 season.
A number of weeks ago, the FIA confirmed that a second manufacturer has opted to bid to become the series’ official tyre supplier, with Hankook the rumoured candidate. Michilen confirmed last month that it wouldn’t seek to return to F1, stating that it disagreed with aspects of the tyre tender.
Liberty Media, the commercial rights holders, will now negotiate with both Pirelli and Hankook over a 2020 deal. Hankook has never been associated with F1 before, however it does currently supply tyres to DTM and the European Formula 3 Championship.
It is believed that the new contract will run from 2020 until 2023. In 2021, the wheel regulations will change, with 18-inch wheels being introduced as well as a ban on tyre blankets. Pirelli’s Mario Isola says it will be a big change for the sport.
“18 inches, no blankets, there is a lot,” he said. “It is complicated because there are a lot of details in terms of not only degradation. Degradation is the most visible, [there is a lot of] interest in the degradation.
“But there is a lot about working range there is a lot about peak of performance or stiffness characteristics of the tyres. There are a lot of details that are in the target letter.”
“It’s not obligatory that F1 has to be the final destination series,” said DTM engineer Michael Eckert.
“From an engineering point of view, F1 is the greatest challenge, but from a financial point of view it is a huge investment.
“You have to be ready with all aspects of your company, not only with the tyre itself but the infrastructure regarding the logistics.
“Currently, all the Hankook tyre production is in Korea and it would be a big help to have a European base like Pirelli does with Turkey.
“Certainly we will follow up on it and we are interested in new opportunities from a business point of view and also, from a branding point of view, to go into new markets.