JULY 16, 2001
Goodyear having second thoughts
WE hear from Akron, Ohio, that the top management of Goodyear are having second thoughts about re-entering Formula 1 racing because of the cost of securing a deal with a top F1 team. Goodyear has been doing some quiet investigation into what might be possible to secure one of the top three teams.
At the moment only Ferrari is available, its deal with Bridgestone finishing at the end of this year. Goodyear would like to get a deal with Ferrari but we understand that the Italian team is under pressure from Michael Schumacher and its engineers to try to negotiate a deal with Michelin. But while technical issues are important, the size of the check could be the biggest factor in the talks.
Goodyear's sporting boss Stu Grant has also had talks with McLaren but there are problems with the fact that the team has a Bridgestone deal until the end of 2002, which will mean that the team would have to try to find an alternative tire supply for 2001 as Goodyear cannot re-enter the sport until 2003. There is no reason why either Michelin or Bridgestone should agree to such a deal and for McLaren to agree a Goodyear deal would, in effect, mean that the team would have to write off any real chance of success next year.
Williams is under contract with Michelin for five years and while other teams may have potential we believe that Goodyear bosses are only interested in one of the three teams mentioned.
Goodyear would like to be back in F1 but not at any cost...
The tiremaker will have to make a decision before December 31 if the firm wants to be back in F1 in 2003.
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