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JULY 28, 2001

Bridgestone and Ferrari renew deal

THE Goodyear comeback in Formula 1 received a big knock on Saturday when Bridgestone announced that its has renewed its deal with Ferrari until the end of the 2004 season. The original deal was due to run out at the end of next year but Bridgestone did the new deal to stop Goodyear bidding for the World Championship team.

The news means that if Goodyear wants to get into F1 in 2003 (which is the first point at which it is possible given the rules which dictate that tire companies must give a year's warning to F1) it will have to do a deal with McLaren and that will not be easy because the Woking team's deal with Bridgestone runs out this year and the likelihood of the team being able to do a one-year deal with Bridgestone - until it can start with Goodyear - is very small.

The decision for McLaren would thus seen to be whether it stays with Bridgestone or goes to Michelin.

The news will probably mean that Goodyear will have to wait for a few more years until the big teams become available again. The option is to enter F1 with smaller teams and win over the major players with good results. But our understanding is that Goodyear management has decided not to embark on that path.