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Goodyear still discussing withdrawal

ALTHOUGH Goodyear's company line is that it will be withdrawing from Grand Prix racing at the end of this year, we believe that the final decision at Akron will not have to be made for another couple of months. The recent criticism of Goodyear's withdrawal from the media and from sections of the motor industry seems to have given the company some doubts about the withdrawal and it was no coincidence that at Imola the company's Vice-President of Public Relations JohnĘPerduyn and his international public relations manager Chris Aked appeared at a Grand Prix and spent a great deal of time talking to media and leading players in F1.

The Goodyear decision to pullout appears to have been based on the fact that the managing directors of the various national companies around the world did not want to fund the F1 program. Goodyear is a highly-decentralized company and the top management in Akron decided that if the dealers would not fund the program there was little sense in continuing.

The two tire companies have received so much publicity this year because of the tire war going on that Bridgestone announced at Imola that its brand awareness in Europe had increased by an astounding 12% in the space of a few months. The surveys used asked members of the public in various countries to list the tire companies of which they had heard. Previous surveys up until the end of 1996 has seen an increase over only 0.8% over a five year period.

We believe that Goodyear's top managers in the US will now attempt to sway the local managing-directors to change the decision but that things need to move quickly if the company wishes to hold on to its deals with Williams and Ferrari.

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